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My Horrific Experience with Digital Citizenship

On Wednesday, March 17, my EDTC300 class discussed the importance behind understanding technology. I had thought about the importance behind this for a while and this conversation during class intensified my thoughts on this topic. I decided I would have a conversation with my 11 year old sister who is currently in Grade 5.

Discussion with younger sister

My sister is extremely engaged with technology. She watches YouTube, TikTok, plays on the laptop, etc. My Step-Mom and Father do a great job at monitoring her usage without crossing any lines of personal space. I asked my sister if her school teaches her about digital literacy and appropriate uses behind technology (especially considering she is enrolled in online school). Her response was simple, “no”. As much as I want to say that I was shocked by the lack of education on technology, I honestly was not surprised. Most of the digital literacy she has learned has been through my own advice.

Approximately one year ago my sister was convinced she wanted to create her own YouTube channel. I of course wanted to be a supportive older sibling, but I also wanted to make sure that she was aware that whatever she put online would be there forever, even if she did delete it. The solution we had was we convinced her to record the videos she wanted to create, and have her re watch them before posting them online. She watched them and decided that they were too embarrassing to post online.

When I was having my discussion with her about her digital literacy, she said that she was very appreciative that I was there to help her understand the consequences of posting things online. I decided it was an appropriate time to show her the video I created when I was her age…

My experience with digital literacy…

I was probably about 9 years old and I was visiting my grandma’s house with my mom. While I was there I stumbled across her laptop. I decided to go on the laptop and I found the holy grail, her webcam application. On this application I could use filters, backgrounds, etc. I decided I would make several videos of myself just being a weird kid in front of the camera. I have a few of me trying to sing (which is absolutely horrendous) as well as a video of me just making weird faces. In one of the videos you can hear my mom in the background yelling “Sarah make sure you delete those” to which I responded “I figured out how to do this on this computer” in a very sassy tone. I was right, I did know how to delete them, however, I did not know how to empty the trash. My uncle was given this laptop years later when my grandma got a new one, and when he came into the city to visit, he showed me these videos he found in the trash can. He has now made several USB’s with copies of these embarrassing videos and they are now with me forever.

Screenshot from the cringy videos young Sarah made…

Conclusion

Using the discussions being had in class, with my sister, and my own experience with digital literacy, I cannot emphasize the importance enough behind providing children in school with lessons on digital citizenship. Students need to learn the appropriate uses for technology, and that whatever they may use technology for might haunt them forever just like me.

If you found my story entertaining and/or have a similar experience please let know in the comments or via Twitter!

3 replies on “My Horrific Experience with Digital Citizenship”

Hey Sarah,
It’s great that you are looking out for your younger sister. I have younger siblings as well, and I definitely want to have a conversation with them ever since we had that first lecture on our new, digital world. That was a really good idea you had with your sister, and you are right: students do need to learn the appropriate uses for technology

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Hello Sarah! Happy Wednesday!

I love that you are taking the extra steps to ensure that your sister understands how the online world works and even having your own experience with not posting those videos online, but simply having them on a physical device can come back to embarrass you. It is crazy to think that when we were younger we did not have all of these apps and an online presence like we all do today. I cannot imagine going a week without watching YouTube yet when I was growing up I went 14 years without it. Thank you for putting everything into a safe and understandable perspective.

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Hi Sarah,
I am so thankful I had older sisters to stop me from posting embarrassing videos, so trust me your little sister will really appreciate it when she is older. On the bright side it is a great laugh when we are all older. Sadly my sisters did not stop me from making these videos though. So trust me I feel the pain of younger self embarrassment. I don’t know about anyone else but we would always make music videos on an app called Videostar. I get a good laugh out of them now, but it is very embarrassing.

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