The American right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of Internet access

Students and educators alike must adapt to the truth that our society demands Internet access. The potential for the gap between the impoverished and wealthy stands to grow out of an attitude that technology is not a human right and should be treated as any other business: pay to earn access. In the argument of healthcare versus access, (Fung) critiques those in favor of the idea that Smartphones are a privilege that should be addressed after achieving proper health care. Recent studies show that the low-income and impoverished population of American citizens depend on Smartphones for access to banking, job research, and personal medical research. (Fung) While healthcare may be at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, access to the Internet is rapidly rolling down the side of the pyramid. This need for access reaches into the classroom in the demands for teachers to use digital tools. Teachers that assign their students digital work must ensure that each of their students have access to the digital tools and resources necessary for the task.

Beginning to instruct students how to use their access responsibly at an early age greatly increases the chances those students mature into responsible digital citizens. (Heitner) addresses the issue of training our students/kids to use digital sources correctly through proper analysis and evaluation in her article When the news intrudes, helping kids make sense of the media. Students not only have to understand how to properly and effectively filter information found on the Internet, they must understand the process of creating a digital tattoo. Students can be informed and guided on how to ensure they are building a positive digital tattoo as early as they are provided access. The consequences of intentional and unintentional digital tattooing are an essential part of the mandatory conversation over Internet access.

Two of my baseball players added to their unintentional digital tattoo this season by posting a picture of themselves with bottles of liquor to Snapchat. The picture got to me and the athletes’ consequence was suspension for one game. One of the things that digital natives seem to understand, yet lack regard for, is the digital tattoo. Students comprehend that what they put on the Internet can remain there forever; however, true to their teenage mentality, they do not comprehend the scope and magnitude of their digital tattoo. Students should be taught to create both a professional and public ePortfolio in an attempt to provide practice creation under both lights. Students that engage in activities revolving around positive digital citizenship will consistently “think before they post.”

In last week’s discussion the element of access was discussed as the most prominent of the elements of digital citizenship. Students must understand the ramifications of being a positive and negative digital citizen. For that reason, unavailability of an Internet connection and a misuse of an Internet connection are the two greatest threats to effective accessing and sharing of content on the Internet. If we want our students to prioritize digital citizenship, then positive digital citizenship must be practiced from an early age. Guiding how they share and communicate through assignments provides an ideal opportunity to blend in aspects of digital learning forcing the students to acknowledge the standard for creating a digital footprint.

Resources:

Fung, B. (2017, March 8). The luxury of telling poor people that iPhones are a luxury. The 

Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Heitner, D. (2017, March 8). When the news intrudes, helping kids make sense of the

media. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/

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