What is a Digital Footprint, and Why is it Important for us to be Aware.

I’d have to admit, like many others around the world, I’m always on the internet and literally excessively dependent on it. I’m constantly using my various social media accounts, searching things up on Google, and logging into different websites. And what’s most scary about that is that most of time, I’m unaware. Unaware about the terms of services and privacy settings, because why bother reading through all that important information, that is an agreement giving the site a lot of my personal information. No doubt almost everyone just agrees with them, and goes one with their regular lives. I know I’m guilty of it.

Public Domain image via Thinglink

For those of you who are completely unaware on this topic, allow me to briefly explain. Every time we log into a website, post a picture or a status on a social media site, send a message to a friend, or search something up on a search engine, we leave a mark that states that we were there. What we do, what we say, where we are, can all be seen by people around the world. Complete strangers, people who you don’t know a single thing about, can find out about the last restaurant you were at, where you’re going on vacation this summer, even where you live. And most of this information can be found by simply searching up your name on any search engine. And this digital footprint that we leave behind, is all of our doings, we have the control in our possession of whether we want it to be positive or negative.

In this day in age, especially for teenagers, having control over our digital footprints is a lot more difficult than one may imagine. Because a lot of it is no longer under that particular person’s control. Friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers, all have a way of affecting our footprint. Which is why it is so important to make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who you can trust and blocking those who are potentially harmful for your footprint. It indeed is quite difficult to keep out all of the negativity, but really it is in your hands to create the safe environment for yourself online.

Now, I chose to search myself up on Google and see what content would pop up. Since my name probably doesn’t belong to anyone else out there, a lot of the stuff that came up, were indeed mine. First off, my blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram accounts and the sort came up. Which are all pretty positive accounts of mine. And then local news articles that featured my name, as well as some of the extra-curricular activities that I have participated in were also brought up. Which I am pretty proud of. One thing that did come up, that was kind of embarrassing, but not something that is a mark on my reputation was, well pictures from my Grade 6 class blog. The pictures are just candid moments of when my classmates and I worked on various activities in class, most of them are just from a long time ago, so they’re kind of cringe-worthy. But other than that, fortunately everything that came up were mostly of my favor, and I would not be ashamed to show my family members, including my grandparents.

 

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Why Video Games Should Be Banned For Minors

Here’s a little passage I wrote a while back on why violent video games should be banned for minors. Just an opinion, comment below what you think. Here you go!

Let’s look at the world today. There is crime and violence everywhere and there has to be a cause for it all? Research on the effects of media violence has been conducted for over 40 years; the first serious studies on the effects of violent video games on children only appeared in the 1980’s. Our youth today, are exposed to many aggressive and violent games and finding them to be a source of entertainment. Because of the violent video games today’s youth are inspired and are slowly becoming the characters in the video games they play.

Today 97% of teenagers in the Unite States of America play video games. 90% of those children play violent video games. Many social scientists expect video games to have an impact on minors for the following four reasons:

1. Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify. In violent video games, players participate as a character, and even choose which weapons they’ll use while fighting other characters.

2. Video games by their very nature require active participation rather than passive observation.

3.Repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioral rehearsal for violent activity.

4.Rewards increase learning, and video games are based on a reward system.

Now, early research proves that because of violent video games, minors tend to become more aggressive. They become more prone to confrontation with their teachers. They start to engage in fights with their peers. And they start to see a decline in school achievements. Violence in our society, of course, is not fully caused by violent media. But research shows that continuous exposure to violent media causes minors and adults to believe that violence can be an acceptable, positive way to solve problems.

For example, Aaron Hamel was killed and Kimberly Bede was injured when two stepbrothers in Tennessee, aged 14 and 16, opened fire with rifles they’d found in their home. The boys cited Grand Theft Auto III as the inspiration for their real-life destruction.

Violent video games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Halo and Assassin’s Creed set a very violent picture to minors. Games like these basically inspire minors into making violent actions. Can you imagine sitting in your passenger seat when a man you don’t know jumps into your car and drives off then starts to smash into other cars.

On September 23, 2013, Zachary Burgess stole a car with a woman sitting in the passenger seat and did just that. What was his motive? He just wanted to see what it was like to “play Grand Theft Auto in real life.” He put his own, the woman’s and others’ lives in danger because he wanted to have a little fantasy joy ride like he would in the video game. Violent video games inspire just that.

Now, what about school shootings? We all know all schools consist mostly of youth. And these same young children are exposed to very violent video games. Studies prove that school shootings are usually caused by bullying, problems with teachers or staff, mental illnesses, or especially seeking popularity. But 75% of the school shootings that occurred in the past 30 years have been inspired by violent video games. 

For example, on April 20th, 1999, two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide. This massacre took place because these teenagers were influenced by violent video games.

After all I have stated, why shouldn’t violent video games be banned to minors. If we look at a balance scale, the video games cause more harm than good. Violent video games have made our world a scary place to live in. And I believe banning these games are for the betterment of the whole. It would stop students from being distracted from school, and will help them grow to be much more knowledgeable people. It will stop crimes, violences and other horrible actions harshly. And lastly it will help our world be a better place to live in for our future generations.

 

CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

 

Technology’s Presence in My Very Basic Life

    Today’s world is so very dependent on technology, it’s kind of unbelievable. I on the other hand am someone who can live without it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use it. When in curiosity of whether or not a tomato is a fruit, you can be assured that I would turn towards the good old internet. I guess I don’t have much of a choice. The internet is the only place where I can find such information easily, nowadays. And to be completely honest I understand how technology has many benefits and that having all information at everyone’s fingertips is a way of progression but for some weird reason, unlike others my age the negative side of technology is more significant to me.

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

    Don’t hate me, because I have nothing against technology, I admit I use it very frequently. The thing I fear is, how people choose to use it. Because let’s face it, there are many people out there who choose to use technology in a way to harm others and that’s why I have kind of distanced myself from it. Maybe I wouldn’t have, just maybe, if people knew how to use it safely. Now you might be thinking, why does she care so much about how others choose to use it? Doesn’t how she choose to use it matter? Well, you see, that’s it right there, how others use it somehow has its way of affecting me, and I’m just that kind of a person who prefers to be more protective over oneself, than to be sorry later.

    Now aside from all my concerns on technology, comes the fact of how I use it. I completely agree that technology has made the world a VERY advanced place. It’s a huge source of information and has answers to all questions that are accessible to all. And most importantly, it has opened doors to a place where people around the globe can connect and put their opinions out there. I mean, isn’t that what I’m doing right now? * By the way, being the critical thinker I am, I basically thought of arguments against every single sentence I stated in the paragraph above, just for your information.

    Now, since you’re probably wondering about whether or not I use technology at all. I’ll end your curiosity right here. Yes, I do have access to the internet, as well as my one personal laptop and iPod. I at times use social media, but recently prefer to spend more time in reality, rather than this other virtual world. And yeah, pretty much for homework and sometimes for entertainment purposes I indulge in the world of technology. But then again, just to let you know, I have some strong opinions towards technology as well. And I’ll bring this up, some other time.

Sincerely yours,

                Mantaqua