Dangers of the Online World

As we look at digital citizenship in ECMP 355, we have touched on the importance of teaching it and incorporating it into the curriculum for a number of reasons. One of the main reason we talked about was because once something is put online it can never be taken back. This can lead to different problems such as what Amanda Todd had to experience. Her experiences online began with innocent conversations with people all over the world but quickly turned into something bigger she had to deal with for the rest of her life. If Amanda would had learnt more about the dangers of being online, or more about how to be safe while online she may not have found herself in the positions she had been in. As teachers we need to use incidents like these as a lesson and do our best to teach out students. It is something so devastating, and even scary to think about.

In the documentary The Sextortion of Amanda Todd, one young girl said that she had an experience similar to Amanda’s, and that the man she had interactions with online had threatened her if she would have contacted the police, and demanded to see more pictures or webcasts of her and her body. So many young girls are being black mailed by older “creepy” men as Amanda’s friends would call them.  This too is a lesson learnt, it can be so easy for people to hide their true identity behind a computer screen, someone who you think may be similar age to you could perhaps be many years older than you.

Monica Lewinsky in her TED talk, The Price of Shame, talked about how she had once been shamed online, but had learned how to overcome it. She mentioned that after one particular individual, Tyler, lost their life, she started to see things with a different view. She was more empathetic to what was occurring. She believed that because of the internet the price an individual pay for shame had been largely increased. This is because it is so much easier to say things to an individual if you do not need to see their reaction.

I was then reading an article called, The price of public shaming in the Internet age, that talked about a couple different examples of how different individuals had been shamed from something they did online. One individual in particular stood out to me. This was not because what he did to cause the shaming, but what he did in the result of the shaming. Adam Mark Smith was known for recording himself as he went through the drive through to order a free water as a joke. On his way through he said some extremely rude things to the Chick-fil-A employee. He took the time after to write a book of self-reflection. This book also talks about how he began to move on from his mistakes and go forward with his life.

After looking at all of these example of how people have been affected in a negative, and most often shameful way due to the internet, I think it makes one thing very clear. Us as educators or future educators need to do our part in making sure that our students, and children know how to be online safely. We also need to make sure that they are very mindful about what they share online because it can have both and immediate effect on them such as Amanda’s situation, or an effect on them in the future such as an individual not being able to get a job because of something they said or did online.

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