“In ten years, most teenagers will have to legally change their names to avoid their digital pasts.” What? That is such a terrifying statement. What are teenagers doing these days that is leaving such a trail that they have to legally separate themselves from their past?
When I was growing up, the Internet craze was just starting. I remember having time limits on our Internet use because we only a certain number of minutes each month. Not only was there not enough time to do anything really bad but the dial-up connection prevented any type of inappropriate behavior. I remember our family’s first cell phone. It was only turned on when we were driving long distances. We didn’t use it to call people, especially not long distance calls, unless it was an emergency. The “screen” was just a small rectangle that lit up with the numbers you were dialing, no pictures, no Internet, not even caller id! Gasp!
It is no wonder kids are getting into digital trouble. It’s almost impossible not to. If there is a regular picture of you, anywhere, anyone can Photoshop, iphoto, or paint their way into ruining your life. There are no limits anymore. It makes it harder, I guess, if you don’t have a facebook account, but even taking pictures of people has become easier by simply using your cell phone or more commonly, your smart phone.
I think the main issue here is the loss of ethics and personal responsibility. Students, and many adults, are so quick to point their finger away from themselves. We play the role of victim to the caliber of an Oscar winner.
As teachers, and for any of us that become parents, I think it is incredibly important to teach our students how to act responsibly with the technology we have. Technology is so cool! There are so many amazing things you can do! What it comes down to is not just acting responsibly with technology, but being a responsible citizen of your community. I can’t think of a better job description for a teacher.