Not many know that as well as teaching Literature I also dabble in teaching Year 7 Multimedia. One lesson I teach is a Digital Reputation class. I start by ‘googling’ my own name and showing the class what is on the internet about me. We talk about how they are at the very crest of the wave about to create their own internet presence and how important that digital reputation will be to their future.
I then asked the students to ‘google’ their own name and look at the internet and image search results. These are children of about 12 years of age. The results were interesting. Some children were shocked to find that their images on Google images. They thought some may have come from their parents’ Facebook accounts, their sister’s instagram account and some from their primary school newsletter. They did not know if the photographer had turned off ‘geotagging’ so were probably easily traceable to their street address. This was scary! A lesson for parents too.
Existing on ‘social media’ is a necessity as many companies treat those who don’t as suspicious these days! Being aware of the value of a good digital reputation is essential for this age group now, as it is often in their teens and early 20s that it is most at risk. Ironically it is also when it is most likely to benefit them.
During this time they may apply for a part time job, a University scholarship, a Gap Year project or a rental lease. Perhaps their grandmother might join Facebook, or they may fall in love. Ensuring that they maintain the integrity of their reputation in the digital world is something they can use to their benefit and the earlier they are aware of this the better.
So I finish the lesson with asking them to talk to their parents about the photos they have found and to make it a life long task to ‘Google’ their own name on the 1st of every month.
Perhaps parents could do this too with their children – it’s good role modeling!
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