Digital Footprints

I did something silly and maybe a little egotistical the other day. I googled myself. I hadn't done it in a while, and I wondered what would come up. The last time I googled myself was probably about 5 years ago, and I was very disappointed to see that I had 0 hits. My accomplished husband had about 10 that listed all of his awards, prizes, research projects, etc. I have to say that I was a little jealous.

So, back to when I googled myself the other day. I had A LOT of hits. It was a little unnerving to see so much information about myself public on the internet. Many of my twitter posts showed up, which I thought was a little weird. Also, my accounts on different websites showed up. I didn't realize that my favorite quotes I saved on a website called "Quotes Daddy" would need to be public knowledge! Thankfully, nothing came up that I'm embarrassed about.

I frequently tell my students not to do anything on the internet that they wouldn't want their parents, their friends, the preacher at their church, or their teacher to see. Their eyes always get wide when I say this, and I always say a silent prayer that they are all making good decisions when posting things on the internet. Looking back, I shudder to think of all the crazy, inappropriate things I wrote to friends in notes when I was their age. In fifth grade, I remember writing a two page recount of an entire Melrose Place episode for a friend who had missed it and getting it taken up by the teacher. (Abby, do you remember this?) There is a good chance that my Melrose Place synopsis would not have gone over so well if it had been posted on facebook or sent as a text message. I remember it not going over very well with the teacher, but that was on a much smaller scale. I think it was the episode where Kimberly takes off her hair and you see this weird scar on her scalp. I think she also tried to blow up the apartment complex, but I can't really remember. Any Melrose Place buffs out there?

I can't imagine being a kid in a world where you can post information for all the world to see. I tell my students that everything they do or say on the internet can be retrieved and viewed by their parents or anyone else who wants to see it. Their "digital footprint" is quickly becoming synonymous with their "reputation." This is too much responsibility for kids this age. They simply can't think through situations and fully consider the consequences for their actions yet.

For now I have decided to make my twitter account private. I don't ever post anything that is inappropriate, but I do realize the negative connotation that twitter still has with many who don't understand it. I'm also going to continue to help make my students responsible digital citizens. Does anyone else have any techniques for doing this besides the scare tactics I mentioned above?


  1. Do you remember that? I think Mrs. Godwin thought that I had some really scandalous things going on when she took up that note. I remember we had little code names for each other, so maybe she didn't know who it was. You were "Simba" if I remember correctly. :)