It has been a while since you heard from the “Founder’s desk” – a lot has been happening, did I tell you that I finally launched my podcast channel? Yup I did and it’s 20 episodes in, how about that? Subscribe to it – Digital Parenting With Evelyn Kasina , I also graduated from Deakin University with a graduate degree on Digital Learning Leadership, it is pretty amazing.
Enough about the updates, today I wanted to talk about the power of (our / your) digital footprint.
Key Vocabulary – Digital Footprint: All the information online about a person posted either by themselves or by others, intentionally or unintentionally.
These are the words I begin with whenever I am training my students on Online Safety – Digital Wellness, indeed YOU are not in control of YOUR digital footprint, it WILL be created with or without your consent either intentionally or unintentionally.
You are reading this and wondering why it is worth your time. I know someone is thinking “ couldn’t she have just done a short tik tok video?” I can read your thoughts and yes I could but eh I am a tad old school and my message would be half baked, so I ask you to indulge me on this one, it is important.
During one of my recent trainings, I asked my learners if they had any “questionable content online” the options were: YES, NO, I DON’T KNOW, & NEUTRAL – it took a while for them to find their side, some were not sure where to go because they were afraid of being judged of asked “what kind of content they had posted”. I kept giving clarification on the types of content, allow me to share the examples.
- Watched or shared pornographic content
- Participared in Sexting
- Laughed or shared an emoji in a cyber bullying event or situation.
- Took screen grabs from a group and shared with friends.
- Used vulgar language in conversations online (on social media or gaming etc)
- Used someone’s identity to do something wrong online
- Pretended to be someone else to gain a favour or get away with something online…
- Participated in perpetrating digital drama ( catfishing, online bullying etc)
These were just examples, and as I was asking them, more students went to the “Yes” group. . .
Let me pause here (from dramatic effect) to allow you a second or so of self evaluation, because – to be honest aren’t we guilty of at least one of these things? YES we are. I know I am and you are too.
Our digital footprint is persistent, the internet as we know it has the memory of an elephant – It Never Forgets, cases in point, let’s go down memory lane shall we? Speaking of the Oscars – Kevin Hart in 2019 stepped down from hosting the Oscars following a controversy over homophobic tweets, here is the link for those who missed.
Harvard Rescinds acceptances for at least ten students for obscene memes – Reported by the Harvard Crimson
In Part it states – “Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages. The students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson.”
Our own Kenyan – Pauline Njoroge’s tourism board job was revoked due to a response she made on social media about the Nairobi National Park, here is the link to the news article.
Let us not forget the viral video of the Ndichu brothers that saw investors withdraw their investments from their company, as this is still a matter in court, the consequences took effect.
Indeed the examples are many, what we need to remember however is HOW we respond to such events, a simple emoji, share or forward could be interpreted as an endorsement from yourself of the behaviour.
Today the world is talking about Will Smith and Chris Rock, indeed there is quite the division in opinions and what kind of repercussions should be taken, BUT we will fail to learn and either create memes, forward, share, make jokes etc …. And forget what our responses SAY about us. We will also be judged by our children, and that day will come when you will tell them how wrong it is to taint one’s digital footprint and they will show you just how much of a hypocrite you are!!!
This is for all of us, to first look within ourselves and introspect, what does our digital footprint SAY about us? How are we helping our children understand the gravity of their footprint?
I believe it is safe to say that YOUR digital footprint represents who you are – so the question is, Who Are You?
Always remember that you are responsible for the consequences of your words and actions.