We’re growing up in a world where everything we do, every potentially stupid decision we make, can be saved and remembered forever--not just what we post on our profiles, but what we search, what we send privately to others, and anything else we do online. Your digital footprint affects what college you attend, what job you’re hired for, and (as anybody who’s heard of cyberbullying and suicides can attest to) it can even mean the difference between life and death.
Isn’t that a scary thought? It certainly scares me.
Unfortunately, the solution to this isn’t to refuse to touch a computer. To potential employers, no digital footprint is just as bad as a negative one--this isn’t a philosophy I agree with, but it’s certainly one that’s out there.
However, while the Internet can have a negative impact, it can also be used for positive reasons, and that’s where digital citizenship kicks in. For every person who cyberbullies, there’s also somebody out there who can stand up to it. For every chance to criticize or tear somebody down, there’s also the potential for encouragement and creativity. Social media and the Internet aren’t going away any time soon, so why not make the most of it?