Generally speaking, the word “Identity” has been defined as “the way single individuals or groups see and deﬁne themselves in relation to others, and how the others deﬁne them” (Browne, 2008). Reflecting on this, the exponential increase in the use of digital technologies has contributed to influence this idea.
According to a definition provided by Technopedia (2016), a ‘Digital identity’ is “an online or networked identity adopted or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device”. In other words, a ‘digital identity’ is the Internet or Network equivalent identity that the same person has in his/her ‘real life’, when using a digital device or accessing the Web. When browsing the Net, it is required to confirm a series of authentication of our personal data to validate our identity and continue the navigation, the research or the purchase if buying anything online. As BCG (2012) points out, we are constantly living ‘double lives’, a physical and a digital one. by using digital technologies people can decide to act like someone different from who they really are and this expose users, teenagers especially, to an extremely high risk exposing themselves to phenomena such as cyber-bullying and identity theft.
Given to the exponential role that digital technologies are playing in people’s everyday life, and purchasing items online inserting credit card details, phone numbers, address and date of birth is part of a daily routine. As a result, a constantly increasing data of our identity is spread in the Net on a daily basis and with them, the concerns of people who are scared to get stolen or deprived or their identity (Liberty Global, 2012). Reflecting on this, a question arises naturally: how can we protect ourselves ensuring that the use of this information is trustworthy and not dangerous for our identity itself? This is the big challenge of this new Digital Era.
It is essential at this stage to introduce the idea of ‘digital security’, which seems to represent a valid and efficient answer to this enigma. When speaking about digital security, the main idea is to inform people how to protect themselves online. The development of this idea is also supported by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority curriculum in Y9 and Y10, which promote the implementation of “interactive solutions for sharing ideas and information online, taking into account safety, social context and legal responsibilities” (ACARA, 2016, ACTDIP043) and the selection and use of qualitative data and sources online, taking into consideration privacy and security requirements (ACTDIP036). This could be realised by creating blogs and secure websites where students can exchange opinions and learn more about safety and necessary requirements to ensure a safe use of digital technologies and use digital devices.
The following video will try to help us giving a clearer idea of how important protecting ourselves on the Net is and how we can manage to use digital technologies in a safer way.
To conclude, it is essential priority of the Education system to implement the right policies to raise the awareness among young students that protecting their digital identities when can only lead to an extremely effective and productive use of means guarantying a safe and effective use of digital technologies.
Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority. (2016). Digital Technologies. Accessed from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level9-10.
Browne, L. (2008). Chapter 2: Culture and Identity. Retrieved from https://www.polity.co.uk/browne/downloads/sample-chapter_2.pdf
Information Security. What you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUxUUarTRW4
Technopedia (2016). Retrieved from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/23915/digital-identity