In my personal life, I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. I am an individual who for the most part is an introvert, likes music and quiet contemplation in nature. At school, I am a teacher, mentor, leader, colleague, advocate. In this environment I am more of an extrovert, constantly engaging with others, planning and acting on those plans to move people forward. For the most part, I keep these two worlds separate, recognizing my need to maintain balance between home and school. But my digital life exists in both of these realms.
Ohler (2011) believes that as educators, we should be striving to connect these two worlds in order to help our students “.. understand issues of digital responsibility,” and “…balance the individual empowerment of digital technology with a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility.” While I see merit in this approach to developing digital citizens, I can’t help but wonder if there may be negative side effects to this merging of two lives into one.
Incidents like that of a teacher who lost her job as a result of personal content posted on Facebook illustrate that living one life can bring significant conflict. (CBS, 2011). Increases in communication through email and social media, while beneficial in building community and transparency between schools and families, may make it more and more difficult for people to find that important balance between their professional and personal lives.
I often wonder if the digital realm which is beginning to connect our personal and professional lives will at some point eclipse both worlds completely. What will that mean for my personal and professional identities? How can we ensure balance between digital citizenship and individual needs and identities in a way that promotes emotional and social well- being?
CBS. February 6, 2011. The Internet and Our Right to Privacy. [Video file] Retrieved February 6, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K8f-r_BK1M
Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 25-27.
Schachter, R. (2011). The social media dilemma. District Administration, 47(7), 27-33.