When I was in the 3rd grade I won the Continental Math League bronze medal. My father proudly videotaped the ceremony, and the VHS tape is sitting in a file cabinet. My mom may have taken a photo with a Polaroid camera and it is sitting in a dusty album on a shelf. I am sharing this with you not because my achievement is sitting in a drawer or a shelf but rather I know my parents were proud of me for earning that medal. Then I think about if I won that medal today what could have happened. My father could have tweeted to the Continental Math League thanking them for giving me a medal. My mother could have used her IPhone, with location services turned on, to take a photo, sharing my big smile on Facebook and Instagram. Now the whole world knows where I am. If I had a certificate along with my medal she would include that in the photo, the world seeing my first and last name. My achievement celebrated with family in today’s world is now broadcasted to the world, adding to my digital footprint that probably started when I was in the womb.
I wish parents of today knew that they could be proud of their child’s achievement and share this with the world through various outlets, thinking about a few things before they post. Please cover your child’s last name in a certificate. If the certificate has the name of the school edit that out. We are thrilled your child is student of the month or in an honor society, but keep your child safe by not sharing who or where they are. I wish parents remembered to check privacy settings once in a while and make sure their location services are turned off. If parents do this, they are modeling for their child what he or she should do. Then we will have students who already think about their digital footprint in a positive way and can still show off their accomplishments to the world.