It is reported that 92% of teens use online resources daily, and 24% of these admit that they use to access online resources constantly (Lenhart, 2015). It is evident that students more than ever are using technology and depend on it for schoolwork, social activities, and communication. Students need to understand how the use of technology impacts not only their lives short-term, but decisions they make using technology could impact their future. Students are rarely unplugged and because of this, we need to educate them on important issues that affect their lives, such as net-neutrality and their digital footprint.
Net neutrality is the idea of allowing the internet to stay neutral (“An introduction to net neutrality,“ 2014). It is a critical issue that affects everyone with internet access in the United States. If the internet is truly neutral than regardless of bandwidth citizens have the same access to all information (Long, 2015). Students need to be aware of this issue because it directly affects their educational opportunities at school and home. Recently, on December 2017, the FCC appealed the net-neutrality regulations (Federal Communications Commission, 2015). This appeal will certainly have an effect on internet customers because the internet providers are no longer required to provide equal access to all information without forwarding the costs to their customers. This issue will be important for students to continue to monitor because this will directly affect their access to online resources.
Another crucial component that students need to be aware of is their digital footprint. A digital footprint consists of online information that exists based on their activity online (Common Sense Education, 2017). Students now use technology to tell their story through social media, creating videos, and posting pictures. Students need to be aware that their behavior online is permanent, even if something is deleted, the information could have been saved from someone else. Anything posted online can be traceable and permanent. Online activity needs to reflect an image that is positive and produces content that they could be proud of.
A digital footprint does not only affect someone's reputation but could affect college admissions, and future jobs. It is important to keep the reader in mind when posting online, it is not necessary to post every single part of one’s day for others to view (Common Sense Education, 2014). When posting online students should consider staying away from bragging or over posting. These online behaviors can appear attention seeking and desperate. Students need to carefully consider the appropriateness of posting pictures, comments, and other online activity. Moreover, students need to be aware of privacy settings they have set. For safety reasons, students need to be cautious when communicating or posting online to unknown people. Students need to understand that technology has both positive and negative aspects. The more information they obtain the more empowered they are to leave a positive lasting online presence. Information about net-neutrality can bring to their attention the restrictions that internet providers may be allowing online or foreseeable increase in internet costs. In addition, students need to be aware that their digital footprint can produce future consequences, positive or negative. It is necessary to educate students of these online topics, in-turn, assisting them to become positive digital citizens.
An introduction to net neutrality. (2014) Retrieved from http://www.marshalldata.com/2014/05/an-introduction-to-net- neutrality-what-it-is-what-it-means-for-you-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/
Common Sense Education. (2017). Digital Footprint and Reputation. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship/digital-footprint-and-reputation
Federal Communications Commision (2015). Open internet. Retrieved from https://www.fcc.gov/openinternet
Lenhart, A. (2015). Teen, social media and technology overview 2015. The Pew Research Center. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/
Long, C. (2015). What net neutrality means for students and Educators. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2015/03/11/net-neutrality-means-students-educators/