Category Archives: EC&I 832 Major Project

The ‘perfect life’ of Instagram

As part of my Major Project, I am focusing on two very popular social media apps: TikTok and Instagram. In this blog post I decided to take a look at Instagram, a social media app that has become part of my life just recently. Focusing on Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship helped me look at this app critically and have a better understanding of its behind the scenes.

  1. Digital Access: Instagram is an easy to access app. Anyone can look at someone’s Instagram without having an account of their own. There are certain limitations to Instagram without having an account, such as the ability to like or comment on a post, or like a comment, view stories and story highlights, follow an Instagram account, view a private account and use the mobile app.
  2. Digital commerce: Instagram users will encounter ads and photos promoting commercial brands. They can also make purchases via links embedded in stories. There are also people with several accounts using Instagram for building and promoting their business brands adding the geotag for easy accessibility. Startups can showcase their work to the audience as well. Instagram is an effective marketing strategy.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: Instagram is a social media app giving the users the opportunity to express themselves through taking, editing and sharing photos and videos. The content of Instagram is made up of feeds, stories and IGTV channels, the later used for sharing collection of videos ranging between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. The stories are a series of photos or videos that will last for only 24 hours, then disappear. Instagram also provides the instant share feature across multiple platforms.
  4. Digital Etiquette: Just as TikTok users, Instagram users should also remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key. And the most important question would probably be “Is it true?” with all the special features that can make life look ‘just perfect’.
  5. Digital Fluency: Instagram being the worst social media for mental health, the users need to have the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. On the photo-based platform, where users have the ability to add filters and edit pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’, it is crucial not to believe everything we see in order to avoid psychological distress due to negative body image and anxiety. The article, Instagrammers reveal the difference between a posed body and a relaxed one, shared by Kalyn, brings to our attention not to believe everything we see.
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: Although there is an option to set a time limit, just as TikTok, Instagram can be very addictive. Instagram has been proven to have a lot higher impact on the users’ health and welfare due to the ‘perfect’ body, life or world that is depicted in the photos posted causing a high level of anxiety, depression, bullying, FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out’. As Kalyn highlighted, the popular trend involving health, fitness and nutritional advice called ‘fitspiration’ also known ‘fitspo’ not only works as inspiration. The unrealistic expectations cause feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, unworthiness leading to lack of self-esteem and mental health problems. Spending more than two hours a day on social networking sites can increase the users’ tendency to fall into the “compare and despair’ attitude. Thankfully, as Nataly mentioned, Instagram is now hiding likes counter, another element that can cause lack of self-esteem being based on the number of likes.
  7. Digital Law: Just as with TikTok, setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to see the content. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: Instagram users need to be aware of the fake accounts of people who are just trying to become famous with a fake life they created. ‘Finsta accounts‘ are also trending where users post their ‘less-edited’ lives. This tends to be the right platform for racy content and bullying. When it comes to raising digital citizens, it is crucial to teach youth to be critical thinkers and be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by creating a private account as well as being careful with the information they share through photos, videos and comments, since after posting photos, image theft and screenshots cannot be prevented.

Looking at Instagram through Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, I am certainly seeing this social media app from a different point of view. The more apps I examine, the stronger I feel about bringing social media into our classrooms and guide our students in becoming critical thinkers.

More on TikTok

I have been spending endless hours on TikTok during the last few weeks since my curiosity keeps telling me to watch just one more video. I am definitely experiencing the feeling of missing out on something very cool or creative. I have mentioned in my previous post that I have restrictions set on my TikTok account since I share one with my daughter and my son likes to watch the videos as well. Sometimes I come across inappropriate songs or content, but I feel that it is not more than what kids are being exposed to on the various radio-, and tv stations.

I did want to know more about TikTok, so I went on their website to find out about the content that I miss out on for different reasons. In the newsroom, there are a number of articles highlighting some of the memorable TikTok moments, such as Charlie Puth seeking help from TikTok in coming up with the lyrics for one of the melodies he created. What I loved about this was, that many people collaborated and came up with creative content. It was quite successful and Charlie Puth did end up finding the right lyrics for his song. This was a great example for Digital Communication and Collaboration as well as Digital Etiquette, two of Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship.

Under TikTok shows heart on Valentine’s Day, I came across some valuable content, such as a recipe and tutorial for molten lava cake, as well as a TikTok showing great Digital Etiquette by addressing not only couples but single people as well, bringing a smile to everyone’s face on Valentin’s Day.

I also like the TikTok videos with the main focus on managing screen time. Obviously TikTok is aware of its addictive quality. What I appreciated about these recordings was that they are addressing one of Mike Ribble’s elements on digital citizenship by teaching Digital Health and Welfare.

There was still a missing piece I needed information on, the Digital Commerce. My main focus was looking into ways TikTok can be used to make money online. According to the article “How to make money from TikTok”, the #1 way is to become an influencer, that can lead to being approached by brands to showcase their products in your videos. I also came across an Instagram Marketer, Elise Darma who presents six ways to make money on TikTok:

  1. Growing a TikTok profile around a ‘niche topic’ then reaching out to brands and selling the account to them. This also means that the purchasing brand would have access to all those followers. I just wonder how this fits into the Digital Etiquette and the Digital Rights and Responsibility category?
  2. Going live and collecting donations from viewers. TikTok has a built in monetization, with the opportunity to buy coins.100 coins cost $1.39. Viewers can send coins to the creators of the videos, that the creators can turn into diamonds, converting them into cash through PayPal.
  3. Being part of influencer campaigns
  4. ADS platform, by signing up for TikTok ads
  5. Offering management services to creators
  6. Offering consulting services to boost their strategy to become TikTok famous

According to Elise Darma, another way business owners can make money from TikTok is to use it for growing an already existing business. She shares five creative ideas for TikTok videos that might be helpful for the world to get to know you and your business.

It seems that there is a lot more behind TikTok, than being a simple entertaining platform. I am looking forward to learning more about it and maybe experimenting with creating my own video. If I will ever be able to figure out how to make one. Lol

TikTok and Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements

My 8 and 11 year old kids are a big fan of TikTok, so I decided to look at a few apps, including TikTok as part of my Major Project. I downloaded the app and made an account, that my daughter and I share. Interestingly many of her friends are on TikTok posting videos, so I am not the only parent who agreed to this. Looking at this app more carefully, I learnt that it is a social network where people have the opportunity to record lip-syncing, share creations, create remixes, etc. It has cool filters, speed adjustment, duet function and music/sound. Watching several videos on TikTok, I certainly came across some very creative pieces, tutorials, funny videos, as well as recordings that I wasn’t sure of what their purpose was. I noticed that breaking news makes its way into TikTok as well. The death of Kobe Bryant was on TikTok for more than a week. I had a hard time watching those videos, since the content was very powerful and heartbreaking. I felt that youth throughout the world was mourning his death. At this point, I cannot say that I am for or against TikTok. What was shocking for me from the very beginning was the swearing and the sexual content. But is TikTok the only app where kids come across this? Luckily it has privacy and safety settings with the option to create a private account.

I looked at the 9 elements of digital citizenship developed by Mike Ribble regarding TikTok

  1. Digital Access: TikTok is an easy to access app, there is no account sign up required to view its content. My 8-year-old son has access to TikTok. Even though he cannot comment or post, he can still view the videos as long he has the app downloaded. My 11 years-old daughter and I share an account, or I could say I supervise her using my account. Since there are mixed reviews, this was the only way I felt comfortable of her being on Tiktok. 
  2. Digital commerce: I did not come across any information regarding this element. I am wondering if it is applicable to TikTok.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: TikTok is being used for electronic exchange of information. People use short descriptions attached to their videos so the audience would understand the message. It is used to share creations, tutorials, bits of news, entertainment as well as for finding own voice and express self. 
  4. Digital Etiquette: When it comes to TikTok, it is important for people to remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key.
  5. Digital Fluency: has a strong connection to digital etiquette. As Ribble described, the better educated or “digitally fluent” students are, the more likely the ones to make good decisions online, supporting others instead of making negative comments. Digital fluency also ties in with media literacy and the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. As Matteo mentioned, some of his students use TikTok as a source to learn about news. It certainly provides bits and pieces of breaking news, but do our students have the ability, skills, and knowledge to think critically when it comes to the news or they fall for the ‘fake news’ as well?
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: I just downloaded the TikTok app not long ago, and just as Matteo said, if I don’t set a time limit, I end up spending hours a day watching TikTok videos. It is almost addicting. Most of the videos are short, vibrant, sometimes funny, or creative, sometimes super sad. If I am having such a hard time keeping a balanced approach when it comes to this app, how do we expect our kids and students to do so?
  7. Digital Law: Setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to text. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: this is a crucial element of being a responsible digital citizen. We need to teach our students to be diligent when using Social Media, raising critical thinkers to be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by being careful with the information they share through their TikTok videos and comments. 

Looking at the 9 elements of this widely used app made me look at it more critically. I think a similar activity would be useful for students to do as a class, to raise critical thinkers when it comes to Social Media.

Major Project

At the very beginning of my EC&I 832 class, I feel nervous and fortunate at the same time. I am excited to have the opportunity to learn about social- and educational apps that I am surrounded with but not know a whole lot about. I have never used Snapchat, Instagram, nor TikTok, so I decided to go on my personal journey and learn what these apps are and how to use them safely and effectively. Having both my students and my children (eight and eleven) use them, as a teacher and parent, I feel it is my responsibility to learn about these viral tools.

So I opted for the Personal journey into media:

The goal of my major project is to have a better understanding of the digital world and of the apps and programs that my children and students are using regularly. As part of my in-depth investigation, I will be focusing on reviewing two social apps Instagram and TikTok, and two educational apps, such as Aurasma and Touchcast.

I am planning to create a detailed review of the selected apps through a media lens including a description, analysis of the app platform, Terms of Service and privacy implications, as well as educational value and usage. I would like to experiment with the above highlighted four apps by actively engaging and using the apps for an extended period of time.

I already learnt it from my Learning Project of my EC&I 831 class that creating a plan on a fairly new topic can be quite challenging. When I started learning how to play the piano, I set the most amazing goals, such as playing an Ellie Goulding song by the end of my course. It was hard to face reality and change my final goal several times. But the Learning Project taught me about the importance of connecting with professionals and learning from each other. I had the opportunity to chat with one of my colleagues, Kristina Boutilier, regarding my Major Project in Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy, and she shared a wonderful site with me that I think will be very useful when it comes to examining apps through media lens. commonsensemedia.org is a collection of best apps that offers detailed description and evaluation of the various apps. I am also planning to examine other resources in the Educational App Store. The latter offers a wide collection of apps as well as overviews that will be helpful in finding valuable apps and learning what to look for in a good app. I also came across an open educational resource (OER), the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) offering valuable information regarding the quality and relevance of apps by providing a checklist for an app evaluation. I will also continue reading articles and listen to TED talks on this topic. I came across Jeff Kirschner’s Litterati app, an app that makes it fun to pick up litter is definitely something I would like to know more about.

I hope, when I start examining apps, I will not get lost in the abundance of resources. Being fairly new in the world of technology, I am ALWAYS happy to hear your suggestions and advice.

Thank you!

Final Project Idea – EC& I 832 Digital Citizenship


My plan for the final project is to focus on creating a resource for digital citizenship for a group of people who are often not considered when we focus on digital & social media -


Senior Citizens 


This project hits close to home for me.  My mom is 83 years old and moved into a seniors residence this past year.  My mom is a very tech-savvy octagenarian, for example, she uses her iPhone and iPad to connect with friends and family on Facebook, uses Twitter to get up-to-date with news and current affairs, and reads at least 2 books a week using an online reading app where she downloads books from the library.

Many of her friends in her new residence are open to wanting to learn how to use social media, like Facebook.  However, there is some hesitation in getting started because they are fearful of how to do it, or how to use it properly.  I think there is a great opportunity to help seniors learn more about digital citizenship, how to use social media safely and responsibly.

I personally love the extension this project would take from my previous work in helping parents navigate the digital world for their teens, and instead could help my generation help navigate this space for their parents!

For this project, I would need to:

  • research the current use of social media by seniors in Canada.  
    • I will research Stats Canada, and find other resources to help establish this information
  • conduct basic research of my own through a survey, interviews with seniors and a focus group
  • write a report that outlines my findings focusing on how seniors use social media, or don't use and why they don't
  • Prepare a basic resource to help seniors with navigating their participation in social media with a focus on digital citizenship including:
    • media literacy
    • online identity
    • responsible participation online.
I would really appreciate your feedback on this idea.  Do you have any suggestions or ideas on how I can improve this project?  Do you agree/disagree that this would be helpful for this group of people?