[PODCAST] Exploring our digital footprint

[PODCAST] Exploring our digital footprint

Thomas Chen: In a world dominated by technology, how we use the internet and what we show on it is crucial. The web is filled with information about everything, including each individual that has ever interacted with it. It is a tool, that anyone can use to further their own interests. However, if mishandled, it can lead to the loss of a job, a revoked college admission, a destroyed reputation, and it’s happened multiple times before. Hi, I’m Thomas Chen, and in this podcast episode, I talk to Upper School Technology Coordinator, Ms. Kritta, Senior Audrey Leatham, and STC co-president, Humza Murad to find out what digital literacy and digital footprint are, and why they are important.

In a world dominated by technology, how we use the internet and what we show on it is crucial.

— Angie Kritta

Angie Kritta: My name is Ms. Kritta. Angie Kritta. I use she/her pronouns. And I’m the Upper School Technology Coordinator at SPA. This is my fourth year here.

Chen: Okay, firstly, what does digital literacy and digital footprint mean?

Kritta: Those are good questions. So digital literacy is basically like finding resources, consuming resources, evaluating them, and then using those resources to communicate. So that’s kind of the literacy piece. And then the digital footprint is kind of like a digital shadow. It’s kind of your trail of data. So if you think about like walking on a beach and you leave footprints, it’s what the impact that you leave online as you’re active and using it out there.

Chen: Okay, so why is it important for people, especially like students, and how can it affect us? And why should we be taught about it and look after it?

Kritta: So the importance of digital literacy is a lot of what we do in life on a daily basis. Whether you’re in school or out of school, you’re finding resources, you’re consuming content, you’re seeing what’s going on out there. And we need to learn how to evaluate it. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it first person? Is it third person who’s telling the story? Is it a legitimate resource that you’re finding and either sharing are repeating or crediting to something that you’re using? And then as you’re evaluating that, are you communicating it effectively and appropriately as you’re kind of using it as well. So digital literacy is also creating content. And as you’re creating content, what are you considering about the content you’re creating? What’s your audience?

Chen: That was Upper School Technology Coordinator Ms. Kritta, next, I talked to Senior Audrey Leatham.

Audrey Leatham: My name is Audrey Leatham, my pronouns are she/her? And, I am a senior.

Chen: So firstly, what do you know about digital literacy and digital footprint? And how important do you think they are?

Leatham: I would say like digital literacy is kind of like learning to communicate and like, I don’t want to say like use your phone, but like use your phone and like use social media. And then digital footprint is like, what you’re posting and how it’s like, kind of up on the internet forever, I guess.
Chen: Where did you learn about them? And like, did you learn about it through the school or by yourself online?

Leatham: I would say, I learned about it when I got an iPod from my dad, because my dad is like a IT guy. So it’s like, he’s really into, like, making sure I know what I’m putting out on the internet. He used to tell me, whatever you put out there, it’s up there for good. Like, no matter what someone always will have it or like, it will always be like findable, even if you delete it, so I feel like I kind of learned about it from my dad first. And then it kind of carried over to school, I’d say, but I feel like maybe in like eighth grade we talked about it but like, not recently, not in high school, I feel like which might be kind of the key time to be like, watching what you’re posting. You know?

Chen: So how do you personally manage your digital footprint? Is it something you really care about? And look after? Do you think you’re good at it?

Leatham: I would say I do 100% care about it. I mean, like, I know, it can really affect your future. As you can see, a lot of times, like, you know, people are getting like their, like school schools offer taken away because they’ve like said slurs and stuff, like that kind of thing. So just like, I really monitor what I post and what I put out on the internet, like my TikToks, all private, my Instagram is private, you know, I don’t like add random people on Snapchat that I don’t know, you know, I make sure like, I’m comfortable with who I have following me and who I’m following, you know.

Chen: Why are you so careful about it? Do you feel external pressure? Like from college or from finding jobs?

Leatham: Oh, yes, I do not want to not get a job because I posted, like, a bad, I don’t know, like, I posted something really just like alcohol or something like I don’t I don’t want to, like lose a job over that or like, I don’t want to get in trouble with like school or anything or like, like future school, I just, I don’t know, I know it can really affect your future. And I’m just not interested in risking that I guess.

Chen: So overall, as a student at SPA, how good do you think students are at digital literacy, and also managing their footprint online?

Leatham: Oo, I would say, you know, some people are like, good at it. However, I do see a lot of like, people’s reposts on TikTok, and I’m like, you should not be reposting this like, this is not okay to be reposting. And you know, you can like it, save it for yourself, whatever, do whatever. But it’s not, it’s not the best to be putting that out on the internet, you know. And I would say though, some people are good at it. Like, I know, a lot of my friends do monitor it, and just make sure they know like, what they’re doing and stuff. And then just monitoring what you’re liking and like what you’re like, kind of interacting with on the internet, because it does show up for people.

Chen: When you’re talking with your friends with other students, does it ever, like show up? Or like, do you guys ever help each other with it? Or like warn each other?

Leatham: I would say, no, just because I feel like it’s kind of common sense thing, you know, and it’s, well, maybe it’s not apparently it’s not. I think it’s kind of a common sense to just like, monitor what you’re posting what you’re like interacting with on the internet. And like, make sure you’re not like just targeting people like saying bad things. Like that’s just terrible in general, but like, especially like on the internet, you should not be doing that. And I mean, when I talk about like, digital footprint with my friends, I would say it just comes up as like, oh, did you see this person reposted this video? Or, oh, did you see this person like commented on this video or reposted it like whatever? And it never really we never really talked about our behavior because I feel like we all kind of know it’s like common knowledge to not be like doing that kind of thing.

Chen: So things spread when people say bad things?

Leatham: Yes, yes. I’ve definitely talked about the like, TikTok reposts that I see like, like the username like reposted this. I’m like, gonna bring this up with my friends.

Chen: Do you think the school does a good job of teaching us wishing they could do some more?

Leatham: Oh, they could definitely do more. I feel like maybe in 8th grade we learned about it because of like, fake news. We learned about how to like identify sources. I feel like we kind of learned about digital footprint and digital literacy, but nothing in high school so I would really say that they could. It might not be a fun topic but like it’s definitely necessary especially because we go to such a good school and it’s like you don’t want like your education getting taken away because you interacted with a video that was not good.

Chen: Moving on from Leatham, I chatted with Student Technology Committee co-president Humza Murad.

I’m Humza Murad, pronouns are he/him, I’m a senior, and I’m one of the co-presidents of STC or the Student Technology Committee.

Chen: Firstly, what do you know about digital literacy and digital footprint? And how important do you think they are?

Murad: Yeah, so digital literacy and digital footprint is kind of like how we interact with online media in the current age, right. So being able to like filter through it, how we intake and how we use social media and digital footprint is really important. It’s kind of the idea of that everything you do online, everyone can see and for the most part is preserved even as you delete it. So digital footprint is like, you’re leaving your footprint, your stamp online, wherever you go. So whether it’s like a tweet you make, or a Facebook post, or Instagram post, you’re like leaving your mark online, and that can be accessed or found by basically anyone.
Chen: Where did you learn about them? Was it through the school? Or was it by yourself? Or your parents?

Murad: I think digital footprint is something you learn honestly, through social media, as you kind of get older, so you start to like hear a lot about it online. You hear about famous people being canceled, politicians being punished, or like people being subject in court to like random tweets they said, like years ago. As you get older, you kind of start to see like, the impact that digital footprint has on real world applications. And that’s really prominent for a lot of like celebrities, you’ll hear that they lose important roles in movies because of something they tweeted or texted someone. I think I mostly learned it by myself just through, you know, experience on social media. No one really like taught me, I don’t think.

Chen: How do you manage or think about your digital footprint? Is it something you really care about and look after? Do you think you’re good at it?

Murad: I think for the most part, my digital footprint is pretty well maintained. I think, the way that I maintain it is I kind of think about, okay, who’s like, going to see what I post right? So on Instagram, you know, I’m not gonna post or say anything that’s potentially like, really controversial or bad, or that I don’t believe in hard, like I don’t really truly believe in. Because a lot of people that I know that are close to me will see it. Right, then there’s differences right on like Twitter, I don’t really tweet at all. So I think for the most part online, I’m definitely more of someone who observes, I don’t really participate that much online, I’m more of an observer. So in that sense, no, I don’t think I’m gonna harm my digital footprint much at all, just because I don’t really post. And I think that most people don’t post, for the most part, most people are observers. And that’s why most people don’t have an issue with digital footprint. And I think it’s something that’s like, honestly, it’s not that hard to just maintain.

Chen: What about digital literacy? Do you think it comes naturally over time when you’re on the internet?

Murad: I think as you get, like, especially for our generation, right, we’ve spent so much time online. Most of us have had phones now for so long. We grew up in the age of the iPhone. So as you spend more time on social media, your sense of visual literacy, and what you see and like how you perceive digital media, definitely gets more advanced. So you start to understand like, oh, this is like fake news. Oh, this is like not okay. Oh, I should definitely stay on this website. So your overall understanding of digital literacy gets better just through time. Obviously, we’re better at it, I think than our parents, because their developmental stages weren’t with media, whereas ours were.

Chen: Do you feel pressure to maintain a good footprint from college or jobs? How does they affect how you think about it?

Murad: Definitely. I do think that a lot of people are concerned with colleges, and job interviews and stuff. There have definitely been reports of people who get fired, or something they said in the past is brought up in their interview. So I think that it’s really important to be careful, because you never know what could show up. And especially with more controversial topics, you hear a lot about how students these days in colleges are getting in severe trouble for tweeting something about maybe like some geopolitical conflicts right now. And, they might tweet about it or make a comment about that, and then the school punishes them for that. So, I think that we don’t often realize how much of an impact our digital footprint actually has, until it comes back to bite you.

Chen: Do you feel the school does a good job of emphasizing these issues or teaching us?

Murad: I don’t think that they really do actually. I don’t recall having any kind of talks or assemblies about this kind of stuff. I remember in the middle school, they used to do a lot about group chats. But that was more about like bullying. So what the school does a lot of is how to prevent cyber bullying, stuff like that. So they talk about hate speech and how you can avoid damaging relations with others. So they do that a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard them talk about the idea of a digital footprint. And like, what you say online might not directly impact someone immediately, but rather, it might impact you later. So that idea I don’t think we talked about as much as we should in school, especially with social media getting more and more advanced with AI and stuff. I think that’s even more of an important topic to address. So I think the school should do a better job of talking about it.

Chen: That’s it for this podcast episode. Please make sure to think before you post and remember the importance of being able to navigate the internet while keeping a clean digital footprint. Thanks for listening.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Comments are welcomed on most stories at The Rubicon online. The Rubicon hopes this promotes thoughtful and meaningful discussion. We do not permit or publish libel or defamatory statements; comments that advertise or try to sell to the community; any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others; the use of profanity. Comments will be moderated, but not edited, and will post after they are approved by the Director of RubicOnline.  It is at the discretion of the staff to close the comments option on stories.
All The Rubicon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.