“In July 2003, the student’s family ﬁled a $250,000
lawsuit against the families of four of his schoolmates.
The lawsuit stated that he “had to endure, and still
endures today, harassment and derision from his
high-school mates and from the public at large.”
“You’ll survive. You’ll get through it. And
you’re not alone. You are surrounded by
people who love you.”
Digital media contribute to once unimagined
challenges for our (digital) identities.
2. Our digital lives are no longer separate entities
but instead have become integral to who we are.
“... we live in an augmented reality that exists at
the intersection of materiality and information,
physicality and digitality, bodies and technology,
atoms and bits, the off and the online. It is wrong
to say “IRL” to mean ofﬂine: Facebook is real life.”
“81% of children under two currently have
some kind of digital dossier or footprint,
with images of them posted online.”
“...children reach the age of “social
media maturity” at about age 11.”
In Canada, 34% of children have a
digital footprint before they are born.
“Should we teach our children as
though they have two lives, or one?”
3. The complexities of identity pose a serious
threat to the well-being of our youth and there is
little being done systematically to educate
students around these topics.
20% of kids who are cyberbullied think about suicide.
10% of kids who are cyberbullied attempt suicide.
~ Cyberbullying Hotline
“Just because today’s students have grown up in a
technology-rich world does not mean that they know
how to effectively and responsibly utilize technology. It
is a common misconception that today’s learners can
seamlessly transition from the routine use of devices
for personal reasons to using them for learning,
research, and enhanced productivity. ”
“Within minutes, the image seemed to explode on
the Internet. Soon a meme was born and the
hashtag #alexfromtarget became a trending topic.
(Yet the dark side of this marvel, including death
threats against him and his family, would not
become clear for several days to come.)”
What rights and responsibilities should we hold
around the creation and distribution of media,
especially when tied to the identity of others?
What are coping strategies when facets of our identity
are lost beyond our control?
How do we discern truth from ﬁction in our fast-
moving, often chaotic, information landscape?
How does one cope in a world where judgement of our
actions can be instantaneous, viral, and global?
What is the importance of context in the judgement of
others? How do we act appropriately?
How is the ubiquity of mobile technology reshaping the
norms around communication and expression?
2. Recognize that forgetting is no longer possible.
“...as all of us stumble over the challenges of
living in a world without forgetting, we need to
learn new forms of empathy, new ways of deﬁning
ourselves without reference to what others say
about us and new ways of forgiving one another
for the digital trails that will follow us forever.”
3. Model and cultivate positive online identities/relationships.
Think digital visitors and residents vs.
digital natives and immigrants.
“We systematically overestimate the value of access to information
and underestimate the value of access to each other.” (Shirky, 2011)
How do we help our kids discover and
experience the many emerging possibilities
for networked, human connection while
allowing them to safely grow and shape their
identities, and the identities of others?
Don’t limit a child to your
own learning, for he was born
in another time. ~Tagore