Online Identity

Published on: Author: cxyz

avatarWALT – WAre Learning To…

  • think about the benefits and risks of presenting our identities in different ways online,
  • explore the potential of using avatars in online environments.

WILF – What I‘m Looking For…

  • your participation in analysing a series of case studies with your group to judge whether certain ways people present themselves online are harmless or harmful,
  • a Voki avatar that reflects your personality and identity,
  • a series of avatars created in a range of different online environments.

Which Me Should I Be?

Henry’s Story –  Creating Online Identities


  1. Consider what it means to adopt a different identity online. What are the benefits and risks of presenting yourself in different ways online? Watch the video, Henry’s Story –  Creating Online Identities and discuss your responses to the different ways Henry presents himself to others on the Internet.
  2. Record his actions on the Brainstorm Board.
  3. Analyse each point to determine its position along a continuum by moving into a position along this line.


Case Studies

Explore the ethics of exaggerating, deceiving, or adopting a different identity online by reading, discussing and reflecting in groups on a series of case studies which describe situations in which people present themselves in different ways online.  Use Post-it notes to record your group’s consensus on the following criteria for each case study:

  • What motivates this person to present himself or herself differently online?
  • What are the consequences of the person’s actions? How do you think it might end up affecting the person?
  • How might it affect other people?
  • Do you think it is okay to present a different identity in this situation? Why or why not?

Place each Post-it in a position along a line on the board where you think it belongs.


How one class went about this activity: External link | Internal link
Internal link for Henry’s Story.
Case studies are available in Lesson Materials, downloadable from Common Sense Media here.

Using and Creating Avatars

An avatar is an image used to represent a person in the virtual world.

Adults often use their actual picture as their avatar on websites like forums, blogs and social networks, however, when it comes to children that’s really not a very good idea. Common sense on the Internet suggests that kids keep their photographs off age sites, forums, kid chat zones, etc so that no one can recognize them in real life.

Kids still need a way to represent their likeness and their personality online. They can do this by creating an avatar.

Co to Voki Classroom.

  • Log in.
  • Create an avatar that reflects your personality and identity. Have the avatar tell how it does this by explaining which of your physical and/or personality features you have included.  Use typed text to create the Voki’s voice. When finished, listen carefully to the speech and insert commas and/or full stops if extra pauses are needed.

Experiment with some other sites where you can make some quite different avatars.

  1. Take a screen shot of an avatar you make from each site you use. (Shift Command Control 4)
  2. Paste the images into a Pages document.
  3. In a text box under each image explain why you have designed this avatar in this way. What is it representing about you?

For the Teacher – Australian Curriculum

 Year 5/6 Health and Physical Education

Personal, Social and Community Health:

 Being healthy, safe and active

  • Explore personal and cultural identities and how they change and adapt to different contexts and situations
  • Investigate community resources and strategies to seek help about health, safety and wellbeing

 Elements of ICT Capabilities

 Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT

Apply digital information security practices

  • Independently apply strategies for determining and protecting the security of digital information and assess the risks associated with online environments.
    • Examine the value of using an avatar in a public online forum, game or social network site.

Apply personal security protocols

  • Identify the risks to identity, privacy and emotional safety for themselves when using ICT and apply generally accepted social protocols when sharing information in online environments, taking into account different social and cultural contexts
    • Consider a range of online situations and discuss where these behaviours sit along a continuum of harmless to harmful.

 Creating with ICT

Generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks

  • Independently [or collaboratively] create and modify digital solutions, creative outputs or data representation/transformation for particular audiences and purposes
    • Combine image and sound to create a Voki to present information.
    • Consider which avatars might be used in different situations.

Communicating with ICT

Collaborate, share and exchange

  • Use appropriate ICT tools safely to share and exchange information with appropriate known audiences
    • Use a Voki to communicate how the avatar created represents the individual.

Managing and Operating ICT

 Select and use hardware and software

  • Select from, and safely operate, a range of devices to undertake specific tasks and use basic troubleshooting procedures to solve routine malfunctions
    • Manipulate the features in Voki to create an avatar and manage the timing and pronunciation of text to sound.
    • Select from a range of online tools to create avatars, uncovering how each site works to do this.

Includes ideas and resources provided by Common Sense Media