Module 3. Unit 5. Netiquette and managing digital identity

The term onlife, created by Professor Luciano Floridi, defines the current reality where it is no longer possible to make a clear distinction between the digital and the analogical dimension (Treccani, 2019). This transformation has enlarged the pool of individual rights and duties, but also the presence of potential dangers, including privacy violations, grooming, sexting, cyberbullying. Developing appropriate preventive measures is fundamental especially when personal data are shared, and is even more urgent when the user is a child.

The issue has been largely discussed in the EU context: the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children offers a set of complementary resources. The European Commission co-funds Safer Internet Centres in its Member States, which are united in the European network Insafe; the Better Internet for Kids portal is the single-entry point to raise awareness, share best practices and resources. Moreover, in 2004, the Safer Internet Day was launched and has now become a landmark event in the field of online safety (EC Europa, Creating a Better Internet for Kids).

What is the Safer Internet Day?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M03BJFjBM3w

Make your students aware of the possible dangers hidden in the Web, firstly by strengthening their empathy, as the absence of non-verbal hints and eye-contact may result in wrong and extremely harsh judgements. Inform them of the different laws protecting their data online and explain the importance of carefully monitoring their digital safety (e.g. VPNs, email accounts authentication, antivirus software).

Surfing the web requires greater awareness of the still large digital divide existing in our societies and of the negative implications that long exposure to digital resources may have on physical and psychological well-being. Finally, it is essential to help them develop their digital literacy, in order to respond to clickbait, fake news and other related threats.

These aspects automatically link to 10 principles for online privacy, retrieved from “Teaching Privacy” [More information at: https://teachingprivacy.org]

  1. You are leaving footprints
  2. There is no anonymity
  3. Sharing releases control
  4. Search is improving: meanwhile, terms of services, legislative frameworks, technical privacy settings may rapidly change.
  5. You cannot escape: though you may not usually share content on the Internet, someone else may be doing it, intentionally or not.
  6. Information is valuable: your online presence can have a value for others.
  7. Someone could listen: while you are transmitting information online, someone else might be able to get the content along this process. Encryption or encoding can help against it.
  8. Online is real: online and real life are inevitably interconnected, influencing each other.
  9. Identity is not guaranteed: you cannot be totally sure of who is communicating to you from the other parts of the Web.
  10. Privacy Requires work

Similar to real life, specific rules apply to the Web. The term “Netiquette” defines the set of necessary rules for a responsible use of online resources and for respectful collaboration on the web. For instance, you should always: write accurately, read carefully and control your tone; respect others’ privacy; quote your sources; contribute to keep flaming – exchange of angry posts – under control; respect safety rules; share with discretion; fact check before sharing. As you have learned how to develop a blog, commenting on other blogs is a fabulous way to practice and discuss netiquette.

And what about Open Data? (Open Knowledge Foundation, How to Open Data)

  1. Be simple: start with smaller steps, such as opening up parts of databases;
  2. Keep early and often engaged: engage with users, to make your data useful;
  3. Make common fears and misunderstandings a priority.

The activities in this Unit provide some hints to foster discussion with youngsters about the potential consequences of their online activities, which requires a sensitive and professional manner, free from prejudices or punishments.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  • differentiate simple behavioural norms and know-how while using open data and interacting through them
  • choose simple communication modes and strategies adapted to an audience and differentiate simple cultural and generational diversity aspects to consider in digital environments.

DigComp Competence area 2.5 Netiquette and managing digital identity