Understanding the role technology and social media play in the daily life of young people can help you facilitate safe and healthy online behaviour. These guides introduce the role of technology in young people’s lives, and provide tips on supporting safe and healthy use of technology.
Children and young people are spending more time online. Face-to-face interactions with friends are being supplemented with digital communication. Australian children are particularly prolific users of the internet (Green et al, 2011). This online activity creates digital footprints. Digital footprint refers to the information and data that people generate, through purposive action or passive recording, when they go online (Thatcher, 2014). Digital footprints now play a role in people’s employment and educational opportunities (Black and Johnson, 2010). In this context not having a digital footprint can be as serious as having a badly managed one. One way to address this is for schools to explicitly teach students how to develop positive digital footprints that will help, rather than hinder, them in the future.