Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).
Technology can be a wonderful resource for teachers and students. Unfortunately, it can also cause problems if used incorrectly. Ignorance about the appropriate use of technology is one of the biggest issues in the educational world today. Based on one of my recent research studies, it appears that up to 85% of higher education students are ignorant about their safety and privacy online.
When students, teachers and parents are ignorant about online safety, it can interfere with their lives in negative ways. For example, when potential employers or schools look up a student online, the student’s online activities can be checked and considered a reflection of character; having a friend on social networking sites who has a criminal background can cause you problems, and so on. It is all too easy to be irresponsible with your thoughts and actions online. In this digital age, there is a steep rise of young people behaving irresponsibly online. Researchers have proven this irresponsibility through studies on online behavior.
It is tempting for students and teachers alike to want to express everything about themselves online. Unfortunately, doing so leaves digital footprints. People can be more concerned about the convenience of communication than the danger of exposing their personal information.
As Christian educators, we need to have a balance in our online interactions. We should be wise in not exposing ourselves too much and leaving unnecessary traces online. On the other hand, it is wise to develop a positive online reputation through digital footprints, and we should encourage our students to do so as well. In this age of cyberbullying, we should also encourage our students to behave not only responsibly, but also kindly online. We need to guide our students to use technology as wisely as serpents and as harmlessly as doves.
Gladstone, R. K. (2015). Digital footprints for higher education student’s integrity: Causes, benefits and barriers. Paper presented at the 16th AIIAS International Conference on Business, Education and Public Health, Silang, Philippines, November 18-19, 2015.
Note: Article written and posted in English