What does your digital footprint look like?

After watching the video “Think Twice Your Digital Footprint Matters” I realized that work of this magnitude with our children in schools and at home is never done.   We can never talk about appropriate online activities just once with our students.  It needs to be a consistent message that is shared by parents, students, school personnel and members of the community.

At our high school we have seen an uptick in the inappropriate use of mostly phone-based apps that include Snapchat, Instagram, Finsta and other apps designed to mask activity.   According to the video, 40 percent of teens admit to sexting or inappropriate use of technology. A Shocking numer.  In our school, that would be over 200 students.

Even though our children see and hear the messages about the importance of their online footprint including pictures, videos and chats, we still find instances where students have been involved in something inappropriate.   It is extremely easy for kids to mask what they are doing by using apps designed for a double use like the Calculator% app that looks like a calculator but when the right combination of numbers is entered, it opens a hidden world of photos and videos.  Apps like this are readily available to our kids and are usually free.

My message today is to bring this issue to your attention and to hopefully head off a potential serious problem for our children.  Please have the discussion, check out their phones and underscore the impact that poor choices relating to online activity.  It is important that we all continue to work together to be proactive and have the important conversation about online activity, including the resulting consequences.  I have added some links at the bottom of this post that may be useful.

I hope this post opens the door for more conversation at home. We will continue to have the conversation with the students at school through health classes and special presentations.  I believe that these instances are teachable moments for everyone.  Teachable moments that can be valuable as our students look toward their futures!

Links that may be of interest:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-ivester/are-you-cybersmart-or-cyb_b_1087028.html

https://www.familyeducation.com/fun/mobile-apps/safety-beyond-facebook-12-social-media-apps-every-parent-should-know-about

http://www.connectsafely.org/tips-for-dealing-with-teen-sexting/

http://www1.cbn.com/family/sexting%3A-what%27s-a-parent-to-do%3F

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting

http://www.uexpress.com/parents-talk-back/2016/2/1/catching-your-child-sexting-now-what

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