Digital Citizenship – Part One

TL Meeting Sept 2017 (2) copyWow! Digital citizenship is a huge topic…too much to fit in one tiny blog (hence the Part One). It incorporates all of the topics in the image above and more. As a teacher who is immersed in a digital (BYOD) environment, I feel it is partly my (and your) job to teach digital citizenship skills to my (our) students. (It’s partly their parents’ job, too, but that’s a topic for another day!) Oh yes, digital citizenship (digital literacy) is now part of the ADST Curriculum, too.

There are heaps of great resources on the web to help teachers with teaching digital citizenship. Common Sense Media has a great educator’s website called Common Sense Education that has a whole scope and sequence with lesson plans for teaching digital citizenship skills. The organization Media Smarts, has some great stuff on their Teacher Resources page, geared to educators here in Canada. Frankly, if you just stuck to the links above, you’d have more than enough material to teach digital citizenship!

And that, of course, is part of the problem for educators! There is so much out there, what do I teach? Where do I start? Is there a prescribed textbook? And (I love this one) “how can I teach digital literacy when I am digitally illiterate?” Seriously, a teacher asked me that once!!

So…..let’s start with a basic: SAFETY! When I am asked to talk to students about this, I break it down into primary and intermediate. I talk with the K to 3 students about being Internet STARs and I talk with the 4 to 7 students about getting their digital PASSPORT.

TL Meeting Sept 2017 (2)

So. Internet STAR. If you are an Internet STAR, you do the following things:

  • You know that anyone you and your parents have not met in person is a STRANGER. You know to stay away from strangers.
  • You know that if something happens that makes you uncomfortable or upset, you go and TELL a parent or trusted adult.
  • You know that it is important to ALWAYS be kind and polite when you are on the internet or in person.
  • And finally, you know that you need to RESPECT personal information like your password and address and birthday and you know not to share this information online.

Although this may sound simplistic, younger students generally deal well with clear boundaries and simple rules.

For the more savvy 4 to 7 crowd, talk to them about earning their Internet PASSPORT. (I am working on lesson plans to go with these acronyms – just haven’t quite gotten there yet!) Passport holders know:

  • That they should always PRETEND Grandma is sitting on their shoulder like the good angel, watching what they post and do online. (Okay, I swear….that’s not meant to sound creepy although as I read it, it kind of does….but you get the idea, right?)
  • ALWAYS be kind and polite – if you wouldn’t say it in person, why say it online? Spread peace, not hate.
  • Not everyone is who they appear to be online. Anyone you and your parents do not know in person has the potential to be a STRANGER, and therefore someone to avoid.
  • Learn what a STRONG password looks like and then find a safe place to keep your passwords. Do not share them with friends.
  • PHOTOS last forever online. Even after you’ve deleted them. Even on Snapchat if someone else “screenshots” them. The silly selfie you shared with your friend could wind up all over Instagram the next day. Not a great way to get famous.
  • OFF is good! Don’t spend so much time on screen. Get outside, ride your bike, walk the seawall, shoot hoops, go for a hike, bounce on a trampoline, curl up with a good book, share a snack with a friend. There’s a great big world out there and it’s much better to experience it in person!
  • RESPECT personal information. Don’t share passwords, birthdays, addresses, emails, etc. Do share your thoughts on the latest STAR WARS movie (I have always loved R2D2 but must admit I have a major crush on BB-8) but don’t share personal information. If you’re not sure, ask a trusted adult.
  • And finally, if something that happened online or that you saw online makes you uncomfortable, TELL a parent or trusted adult. Get help!

Yes, the kids you teach now are Digital Natives, in that they don’t know a world without the internet. But they are not inherently good digital citizens – they need our help and guidance for that. Hopefully today’s post will help you help them (and maybe yourself, too!!)



4 Replies to “Digital Citizenship – Part One”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: