April 1

Digital Literacy

It seems, as if overnight, our world has transformed itself into a digital one, where much of our lives happen online.

In a world where virtual reality threatens to overtake reality, and to not have an online presence of some sort, is to not exist at all (or so it seems), it has become vital to understand the rules and regulations of this brave new world.

Everyone, but especially children and young adults, need to be educated about digital citizenship and the rights and responsibilities that stem from it, just as much as they are educated about their real life citizenship and their roles.

There are many aspects that comprise the digital citizenship, but I would like to focus on five main categories:


Digital Literacy

As a concept, it can be most easily explained as having the ability to critically assess and understand the digital resources available online. Now, more than ever, we have a seemingly unrestricted access to information. The trick is to learn how to sift through it all, and to use this information to our advantage.


Ah, the dreaded word- and rightly so. Today many, if not most, internet users have experienced cyberbullying in some form. As always, children and young adults are most at risk for this behavior. Cyberbullying is a crime, and its effects can be far reaching, especially in real life. It is of utmost importance to teach our children how to react to it, and how to prevent it from happening.


Online Safety

A bit of a catch all phrase, but really, when it comes to digital citizenship, this is probably the most crucial part of it. Although digital safety can mean many things, it primarily pertains to safe behavior and habits that all children should practice while using the internet.


Digital Responsibility

Teaching responsibility is an essential part of any education (and an even more essential part of growing up!), the the digital form is no less important. With great power comes great responsibility and the internet is no exception. While the online world provides us with plethora of opportunities, it is up to us to use them wisely, and with full awareness of potential consequences of our actions.


Digital Health and Wellness

A somewhat new concept, the field of digital health is just emerging. However, enough research exists to support the growing trend. While the online world has been booming and enthralling us all, it comes with its own set of side effects. It is important to teach our young about mental health and the effects the digital world can have on it. As always, prevention is better than cure.


The digital world has crept slowly into our lives, but it is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It is best that we learn to live with it. But more importantly, that we learn to live with it well- to treat it not as an obstacle, but rather a blessing in disguise that can make our life better.

March 30

Anna Cronin- Blog 1



When I think about social media online, I often think about a fun, almost goofy way to stay in touch with friends. We can post pictures and videos of vacations, our pets, and our accomplishments.   We can post things for our close friends to see, for family far away to see, or for strangers to get to know us.  I also think of being able to post helpful and useful resources and information that the rest of the world will benefit from.  I’m not sure when exactly social media blew up in its relevance, but I remember when it started for me.  I remember some people getting Myspace in high school, most people getting Facebook in college, and almost everyone getting on Instagram after that. Social media apps went from being a fun option, to almost a necessity. As fun as it could be, it reached a point of making people uncomfortable if you did not have at least one social media account. I usually find myself thinking of the positive aspects of social media, or at least of the negative feelings I would have if I were not active on any of the social media apps. I find that most of the current younger generations view social media similarly, and only see the positives as well.

My blog today will instead be about the negative aspects of social media that people of all ages sometimes overlook.  The dangers of social media could affect children and people of all ages. Teenagers and children need to be constantly taught that what they post online is on the internet forever, even if they appear to have deleted it. Their pictures and videos could have been saved in data bases or on other people’s devices without them knowing. Their content is not always just going to the friends they send it too, and is not always just being viewed by people who they intend to view it. Although this is something to teach the younger generations, it is important for adults to remember this concept as well. There are plenty of stories where people have gotten fired for the things they say online, whether it involves bad mouthing a superior, posting political opinions, or making crude and inappropriate jokes.

For those looking for new jobs, their current and past posts and profiles can be hurtful to them as well.  It is a very competitive job market out there at this time, and employers seem to be exercising their right to be as selective as they like when choosing who to hire. There have been instances where men and women have not been hired due to the pictures they have on Instagram. These pictures that employers have doomed inappropriate have consisted of partial nudity, crude humor, and sometimes just the presence of a red solo cup. There are even pictures of us online that we do not post ourselves.  Sometimes we are aware of these pictures, because we are “tagged” in them. This leads to these pictures showing up on our profile as well as our friends, whether we had given permission for that or not.

In closing, I believe it is very important to educate young people on how to stay safe on social media.  I do not think shielding them from it would be beneficial, as these sites can include us without our knowledge or permission anyway.  In situations like these, awareness is key, and it is always helpful to assume that everyone is watching.  The title of our blog, “ ISpy,” says it all, and we must continue to be careful and selective with what we put out there for the whole world to see and learn about us.

March 6

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