A person’s digital identity refers to their online or offline presence, how they interact with others, which digital platforms they utilize, and their online purpose, whether it be education, social, or work-related (Stroller, 2016). With the popularization and advancements of social media today, it is imperative that we understand the risks and rewards associated with it.

Some ways that it can be beneficial include utilizing platforms such as Indeed to search for jobs and put out your business profile to prospective employers/employees. There are also a ton of remote jobs that are now available that can be done from the comfort of your own home, which would be very beneficial for people who suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety or agoraphobia. It is also more likely that you can start and maintain a small business through online platforms like Etsy or Shopify. Throughout the pandemic, I personally discovered so many amazing small businesses through these platforms. It is also super useful for connecting and staying connected with people from all around the world.

However, with reward comes risk. Some risks include online dating apps where people can “catfish” or disguise their true identities which can be very dangerous for people. People can manipulate their digital identities to appear and even sound like different genders or ages, which poses a great risk to people using these sites, especially youth and teens. A great way to avoid these situations is to educate people on the potential risks that are associated with these types of platforms. Privacy is also a big concern while using any form of social media. I believe that my high school did a great job at educating us on digital privacy by having guest speakers and the RCMP come in and give demonstrations of the importance of internet safety. They also properly guided us through our own phone and social media settings to ensure that we had our location services set correctly so that we could not be tracked by people who engage with us on our social media platforms.

The use of online platforms can be so beneficial to us if we do so safely. I believe that a lot of people feel protected and safe when they are behind their screens and often forget that what they do online can be dangerous. With proper education and caution, people can remain safe, have a healthy digital identity, and take advantage of all of the tools at their disposal to be successful.

References

Stroller, E. [University of Derby]. (2016, Nov 25). Eric Stroller – What is Digital Identity?. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0RryRbJza0