Digital Identity is a funny thing, my son Luke who is 2.5 years old already has a digital footprint. Luke has a netflix profile on our family account and so begins what will be a lifelong accumulation of data. I thank the matrix every single day that there weren’t cell phones around taking videos of my young adult life… They are growing up in a different world. This is a lesson I really hope my children will understand.
I am surprised that there isn’t a digital youth act that deletes your digital footprint much like a young offenders criminal record is expunged when they turn 18. Each new step in my life brings new perspective to my own online data trail. As a University student I didn’t think much of it, as a young teacher I became more conscience of my social media presence and as an administrator I am constantly being reminded of just how far reaching the internet can be. As I become more visible in the public eye it is important to consider how many people recognize me.
Since becoming an Administrator the number of people saying hello to me in the grocery store has gone up considerably. A few weeks ago we were eating out as a family and a person I had never met before came up and asked if my child’s name was Luke? I was taken back a bit, they explained that they worked with a young man that shows them snapchats of my son. Turns out the owner of Luke’s daycare’s son (who is like Lukes unofficial big brother), puts funny videos of him playing with Luke. All of this is done in good taste and it didn’t bother me, but was a bit of a reality check about the intersecting digital/real world.
So as long as my visibility is increasing so will the professionalism in my use of digital media. By that I mean I use it more for work and collaboration than for social media. This is something that is hard to explain to youth, I understand it is hard for a teenager to think of their life past high school. I only hope that I can find a way to instill a modicum of foresight when it comes to social media and digital identity in our youth.
The question I ask young people about digital identities is this. If I were to google you, would I get an accurate representation of who you are as a person by what I find? Why or why not?
Would you be happy finding the same information about your parents? Same photos?