In a recent Spotlight on MacArthur's Digital Media and Learning blog, entitled "Navigating Identity—Reimagining Oneself Online", the idea is discussed of online identity being a fluid thing that youth and others, must learn to manage and navigate through their digital world.
They cite our own Rik Panganiban, on the DIDI program and one of the youth ventures that took place with incarcerated youth.
“It was an ‘aha’ moment for us,” Panganiban says, a coordinator for RezEd, a hub for researchers and practitioners. RezEd is a project of Global Kids funded by MacArthur. “Those young people who have restrictions in their real lives saw the virtual world as liberating. They saw they had something to offer other kids because of their own experiences. Instead of feeling like second-class citizens, they realized they could use that experience to help other kids and say, ‘This is a choice you don’t want to make.’”
“In the virtual world, they were not kids in jail,” Panganiban says.
Instead, they could create powerful avatars for themselves, such as robots, that gave them the gravitas to “explore ideas about how to help others not get into their situation,” he says.