When I watched these video’s I was reminded of another video that I had sent to me in high school that really resonated with me.
Amanda Todd lived only 35 minutes away from my grandma’s home. I was living in Yorkton, Saskatchewan at the time that time video was originally posted and it was being sent around all over the internet. The unfortunate thing about the video that many people failed to realize was that the video was intended to raise awareness of bullying, however, for Amanda Todd, it had the opposite effect. In fact, the cyberbullying had become too much and she, unfortunately, took her own life on October 10, 2012. She was only 15 years old.
I personally avoided all forms of social media in high school, with the exception of Facebook (to stay connected with family on the coasts). I was heavily bullied through elementary school and I was able to overcome that. I made the decision to avoid a platform that could be used for negative purposes. Seeing the Amanda Todd video being shared by everyone I knew reaffirmed that decision. Amanda had made a simple mistake that many teenagers have, but her mistake was broadcasted across the internet and in turn across the globe. I waited until I had left high school to join other social media platforms.
When I was in school digital identity was not discussed or dealt with. Many of the educators were unfamiliar with or did not care enough to learn about it. In today’s education system they are a lot more conscious of what is going on in the classroom online. Unfortunately, there is no way to control what goes on outside of the classroom. What educators can do is educate their students about the impact of their words and the permanence of their online presence.
We live in a world where everything is instant. There is no thought or effort that has to go into posting anymore. Without that time to process what it is that you are sharing with the world, it becomes very easy to post something that you will regret later on. Even if it doesn’t get spread around it can still have an impact later on in life. While that picture of you and your friends having a few too many drinks may be funny now, it won’t be as funny when you are looking for a job down the road and it’s the first thing that pops up when they search your name.