How Times Have Changed…

It’s been an interesting reflective process from the start of Course 2. Some hard questions and some digging (into personal past history) was necessary.

Life before the computer was a bit simpler. There was a paper trail. We worried about the documents being in the wrong hands. Case in point in the early days of computers, I was mistakenly sent a packet of personal information to do with insurance claims. In the wrong hands this could have easily led to many stolen identities. Nowadays, our information from our digital footprint and digital profile is available if you know where to look.

In my class, the kindergarten students or I often say “Let’s Google it.” when we need more information about a topic. I love using google images to communicate new vocabulary with non-English or developing English students. The students’ digital footprint (probably from their online game presence) is minimal in this grade due to their literacy skills.

Personally, I know I “Google” myself periodically, just as Kim Komando has suggested. I started doing this because my identity had been compromised before and it took a lot of effort to get things straighten out. (Granted this probably stemmed from my wallet being stolen from my classroom.) These days with pre-approved credit card applications being sent to addresses, I can’t imagine it being hard for others to find out more information about you and falsifying information to obtain credit cards in your name sent to them.

Most of our banking are done online now. You can get an instant update from your bank on any transaction. We can also apply for many different things online, from credit cards to jobs. A hacker or a masher could figure out how to get information from our different digital profiles and footprints. Luckily Reputation Defender is a service that can help manage and clean up one’s online presence.

I think it has to be a conscious decision to put yourself out there in cyberspace. It’s imperative to know your current digital footprint and limit information in your digital profile. Information is so readily available and it’s a matter of knowing where to search. Companies are constantly collecting data about its customers. Where and how is this information is being used? I don’t mean to sound paranoid but the more I read about privacy in this digital age, the more weary I am to disclose personal information. I am not sure where the fine line is yet for me professionally.

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