The documentary of “The Sextortion of Amanda Todd” can also be viewed on cbc.ca, here.
The documentary is incredibly powerful and enlightening. “The Sextortion of Amanda Todd” opened my eyes up to her story as well as similar issues that happen on the internet. The level of cruelty and helplessness is at times hard to watch. I knew how the documentary would end. I knew that Amanda Todd had died as a result of the subject matter. It is hard to see how a child can make a mistake and be blackmailed and extorted endlessly. It is hard to imagine how vulnerable and unsafe anyone in that situation would feel.
The internet can be a great tool and environment to reach out to others, to create and collaborate, but it is not without its dangers and flaws. It is easy, especially for adolescents, to make decisions that create an unwanted digital identity. Our digital identities can, and increasingly do, effect our everyday lives. The web is a part of our lives that we need to know how to use and make work for us. Children and adults need to be educated about the web and about digital identities.
I remember when my family got our first computer. We didn’t have internet and it was located in the living room. When we did get an internet connection, my parents were weary of it. While sometimes, children can get caught up in digital communities and activities. Education is important to understanding the web and the media and how to use and navigate both.
It is necessary for people of all ages, who use digital technology, to have an understanding of digital citizenship. Whether we like it or not, the things we do on the web form who were are both on and off the web. We can control our digital identities in a number of ways and it is important that we are mindful of how they affect our present and our futures, because the web can make it hard to separate ourselves from the past. It is important to also take a proactive approach in our digital citizenship. Be mindful of what you are doing. It is not easy to prevent children from being on the web, and it is not necessarily the right thing to try and do so, rather it is important that they learn about how to create digital identities that reflect who they are and be safe as digital citizens.
It is a tragedy that Amanda Todd and many others have had an unwelcome digital identity created against them, that people have reacted negatively, and that they have been exploited by predators. The web isn’t free from these kinds of things, but it is a tool that is becoming very important to know how to utilize. Digital safety and citizenship has to be taught and learners need to be guided so that they can create digital identities on their own terms.