Both parents and teachers should educate children on digital citizenship, social media is too risky!

It is not only the resposiblity of teachers but most especially there is a great part of the parents to interfere on the chidlren’s wellbeing on social media platforms. So when I say “we” i should mean (as parents and teachers) have the greater responsibility to educate the young people so that they are aware of safeguarding their personal information this is I think the formost critical issue. Students should be aware of the importance of protecting their personal information online, such as avoiding revealing too much personal information on social media, using strong passwords, and understanding the implications of sharing their data with third-party services. We should also educate students that they should be aware of the importance of respecting copyright laws, understanding the distinctions between fair use, public domain, and Creative Commons. The Online Privacy Awareness must also be informed the students, they should be aware of their online privacy, understanding the implications of sharing data online and understanding how to adjust their privacy settings on social media and other online platforms. Another critical issue that we should educate our children is the cyberbullying. Students should be aware of the risks of cyberbullying, understanding how to identify and respond to online harassment, as well as how to report and diminish it.

 

The cyberbullying is a very serious issue that can post emotionals and psychological consequences.  Cyberbullying is too risky for their mental and emotional health. It may affect all aspects of their wellbeing.

There maybe times that our chidlren will fall into scams. So digital literacy is another critical issues to be educated.  Students should be aware of the importance of understanding how to assess the credibility of online sources and how to recognize online scams.

Lastly digital rights and responsibilities must be taught evan at an early age. Our children or students should be aware of their digital rights and responsibilities when using digital technology, including the rights of others. They should understand the importance of respecting copyrights and other intellectual property laws, and the potential legal consequences of engaging in illegal activities online.

Let’s all educate ourselves, let’s create a safe, better and happier community for our children and future generations to come!

 

“Let’s bring back the old times: stay focused on better and healthier activities”

Let‘s bring back the oldfashioned fun without relying on the screens of our devices. Instead of spending hours scrolling aimlessly through TikTok, let‘s invite the children, and teenagers, to play some board games, read a book, go for a walk, or try a new hobby. Let‘s take the time to connect with our friends and family facetoface and have meaningful conversations. Let‘s enjoy the little things in life that don‘t require a phone or computer. Let‘s bring back better lifestyles when offline and make the most of ours. Let’s moderate the time spent using mobiles, let our youngers do other activities that are worthwhile.

There are times I would to tell my loved ones to unplug their phones, off their cameras, and enjoy some quality time together. Instead of being glued to our screens, it may be awesome to invite  classmates and friends for a picnic, play a chess board games, have a conversation, or take a walk outdoor. These are just beyond compare activities that we used to do better before the time of social media and technology. There are so many possibilities that are available to do when we turn off our phones and wifi. Let’s bring back the old times when smartphones were not still in our lives. 

Bringing back the better times by lessening or disconnecting so much dependency on technology can mean to returning to a simpler, more nostalgic way of life. This could also mean reviving classic activities, it could also mean taking part in more traditional hobbies such as community and sports activities, sketching, gardening, cooking (sorry, it should mean real cooking not the digital cooking that we usually watch on youtube and social media). It would be amazing  to see how  beautiful and wholesome activities  can be done when we go out to take part in better outdoor activities, to name more such as camping, hiking, and biking, cooking festivals and trade shows. These things I believe can bring back the old times and generating a more focused and better lifestyles. 

I like to share with you some fundamental shifts that can let us bring more ideas generated and created when we focus our brain on better activities as presented by Chris Bailey: 

Teaching Students to Be Kind Online

By the time my kids are old enough to use social media, I am hoping that it somehow becomes uncool or just goes away it. I realize that this hope is…highly unlikely; however, my maternal instinct is to protect my daughters from anything that might be harmful to their self-confidence, knowing all too well that some kids (or adults) base their self-worth on the number of likes they receive on a post. When my oldest daughter asks me when she is allowed to have a phone, I tell her she can get one when she is 20, which sounds similar to what my dad used to tell me about when I was allowed to have a boyfriend. When I was 13, I thought his dating rules were “totally unfair” but now as a parent, I completely understand where he was coming from. He wanted to keep me safe from anyone who might hurt me, in the same way I want to protect my girls and keep them safe. But thinking about this topic from the perspective of a parent just solidifies how important it is for students to learn the skills to be responsible digital citizens (even though sometimes I wish I could raise my daughters in a time before social media existed). Here are two ways I have approached the topic of digital citizenship in my classroom. Last year, our school was asked to create a submission for SaskTel’s “Be Kind Online” campaign which “aims to end bullying and cyberbullying in our communities” and “help empower those committed to changing online behavior for the better.” The requirements for the project included making a video to post to our school’s Instagram and TikTok accounts showing how our students spread kindness in our school, both online and in person. My colleagues and I were excited about the opportunity to take part in the campaign knowing that it would be a great way to approach the topic of digital citizenship in our classroom. In the process of creating this video, students had the opportunity to collaborate, laugh and have fun with their peers while also reflecting on what it means to be a kind and respectful digital citizen. The project was an engaging way for us to discuss the important topic of digital citizenship with our students as it opened up conversations about the importance of treating others with respect regardless of whether you are behind a screen or face-to-face.   Earlier that same school year, another colleague of mine stumbled upon an Instagram account created by students from our program, about our program. Once she found the account, she obviously had no choice but to check it out. Most of the posts were completely harmless — funny memes, cute pictures, inspirational quotes — but, after scrolling a little further, she came across an anonymous post criticizing me and my colleagues. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say the post was not an example of students “being kind online” and we as teachers were all hurt by what our students had posted about us; however, because we are also mature adults, we knew we had a responsibility to help our students learn something from the situation. Even though it was uncomfortable, we recognized that addressing “the post” was a teachable moment related to appropriate and respectful online behaviour. We wanted our students to know that even though it was likely more difficult to talk to us in person about their concerns, that it would be more appropriate and less hurtful than posting something critical about us online. We also discussed how it can be easier to say something hurtful online (not just about a teacher, but about anyone) when you aren’t saying it to that person’s face. Although the conversation was tough, I am glad we were able to guide our students and give them some tools to navigate similar situations in the future.  I am looking forward to finding new ways to teach about digital citizenship in my classroom more consistently. I am teaching a Wellness 10 class this semester, and supporting students in the development of their digital identities would be a perfect connection to the curriculum. As I think ahead to planning this content, I would love to know what other teachers are doing to support student learning in this area. What are some ways you approach digital citizenship in your classroom? What resources have you used? What strategies have worked well for you? And finally, what resources should I be using at home with my own kids? 

Digital Humanity… harder than Human-ing Humanity?

Ok, I think being a responsible digital citizen might legitimately be more difficult than being a real, human citizen. And, I’m only being a little bit facetious when I say that. Why? The anonymity of the internet brings out the worst in humanity. Those things that we don’t say out loud, the videos that we … Continue reading "Digital Humanity… harder than Human-ing Humanity?"

Who is Responsible for Our Student’s Digital Citizenship?

This week I decided to draw a bit of attention to each of the prompts we were given. To begin, I wanted to fully understand and define ‘digital citizenship’. MediaSmarts define it as the,

ability to navigate our digital environments in a way that’s safe and responsible and to actively and respectfully engage in these spaces.

I feel that since children nowadays are exposed to technology at such a young age and don’t really know a world without it, they aren’t fully aware of all the negative aspects and danger that can come with it. Technology has provided us with incredible opportunities and advanced ways of interaction and learning, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Responsibility that has to be learned at a young age in order for students to not take advantage of it or use it in a negative way. 

In Kristen Mattson’s book, Digital Citizenship in Action, she does an excellent job of bringing awareness to how students can learn how to positively and appropriately interact in online communities. Her book guides educators through the process of supporting students to creating a safe space, acknowledging their online voices, becoming aware of their roles in these online communities, participate in a responsible and respectful manner, how to make connections and engagement, along with using the internet in a meaningful way. Helping our students to better understand their role within a digital community holds great value, especially for educators who are new to implementing this into their classroom.

Although I think this book has great resources and there are many things I will put into my own teaching practice. I do think digital citizenship should be having a stronger influence from the parenting side of things, rather than the classroom setting. Reminders of how to interact online and what is acceptable and appropriate should come from the parents. In a way, it is like reminding your child to be respectful and kind citizens in the real world. Of course it is good to be discussed and addressed in the classroom, especially when technology is being used as a tool in our education. However, I personally believe the way your child behaves on the internet is a direct reflection on what the parent has educated them on, including their own approach of how they interact on these online communities. All of us adults are influencing our younger generations, so let’s all make sure we are being the best examples for them & their learning!


What is my role in the classroom regarding digital citizenship? 🤔

We currently live in a digital age where we are surrounded by technology everywhere we look. Our children are considered to be digital natives that are being brought up in a society that heavily relies on the use of technology to function and we can not dispute the fact that technology plays a leading role in the lives of our younger generations. Looking back at my own experiences as a student, I can honestly admit there has been a significant shift in the use of technology in the classroom and I am noticing that we rely on technology more and more every day. Things have certainly changed over the past 30 years when it comes to technology and “with this rapid change comes the need [educate ourselves on] digital citizenship – the roles, responsibilities, and skills for navigating digital life” (Future Learn, 2021).

Since technology plays such an integral role in the development of our student’s lives, it would only make sense that schools take on the task of teaching digital citizenship within the classroom. I believe that a key concept to consider when teaching digital citizenship to children is to highlight the importance of acting responsibly while staying safe. As Susan Halfpenny from the University of York explains

“On a simplistic level, we might take digital citizenship as the ability to access digital technologies and stay safe…However, we also need to consider and understand the complexities of citizenship as we start to become a digital citizen, using digital media to actively participate in society and political life” (Future Learn, 2021).

Therefore, we are not only wanting to teach our children how to access digital technologies in a responsible and safe manner, but we are also encouraging them to be respectful members of society – whether they are offline or online. In the grand scheme of things, I feel that educators are striving to ensure their students not only become digital citizens that can access different digital technologies responsibly, but educators are also attempting to help their students become good digital citizens “who [are] informed about the various issues that come with the incredible benefits of technology” (Future Learn, 2021).

I believe that every teacher will introduce the topic of digital citizenship in their classroom in their own unique way to fit the needs of their students. Teaching digital citizenship is a very delicate concept and there can be many approaches one can take when teaching it to different groups of students. My students are a little bit younger and I consider what I teach them regarding digital citizenship to be more of a stepping point/introduction to digital citizenship that my colleagues can, later on, elaborate on in the following years. When I first introduce any new technology or app to my students, I ensure to walk them through step by step while reiterating my expectations numerous times. For example, when we try out Kahoot for the first time, we do this as a whole group from accessing the website to logging in and starting to play the game together; we wait to ensure that everyone is logged on and on the correct website (and I love to watch how classmates that manage to log-on quicker than others, will try to help out their classmates if they are getting frustrated). Those first few times, we also discuss the importance of selecting appropriate nicknames and avatars. When they are so young, you have to ensure to explain everything from locating the URL bar to getting them to accurately input websites and log-in information (this sounds like an easy task, but I can not tell you how many times I have provided my kiddos with websites/log-in info and they are not able to log-in because they have input their information incorrectly lol). With my Grade 2’s, I am trying to help them become independent while also encouraging them to act responsibly so that I can trust them when they are accessing different technologies during class time. It is impossible to think I will be able to keep track of 23 students during tech time and be able to watch over all of them at all times; hence, it is extremely important that I can trust my kiddos to act responsibly and respectfully while we are engaging with different digital technologies in class. It is essential for my students to understand that they need to make good choices when it comes to using technology within our classroom. We go over repeatedly what my expectations are when it comes to how they behave online/offline and how they treat others. Being respectful and responsible is huge for this age group when we begin to introduce digital citizenship in the classroom. I also find it incredibly helpful that any website I am sharing with my kiddos and giving them access to, I have already explored ahead of time to ensure it is appropriate while coinciding with our curricular objectives. Within our school, we also send home a contract at the beginning of the school year regarding the use of technology that parents (and students) must read and sign before their child gains access to different technologies available at school.

With our ever-growing use of technology, it makes the most sense that schools would take on the role of preparing students to interact with all these different technologies accordingly. It is certainly a demanding task that educators have been entrusted with. We are asking educators to introduce students to a variety of digital technologies, teach our kids how to access them responsibly, remain safe while interacting with them, and be respectful members of society (online and offline). I do not believe there is one specific way we properly teach digital citizenship – as I mentioned earlier in this post, how we approach the topic of digital citizenship within our classroom will vary greatly depending on the group of students and their needs. What I can communicate confidently is that schools do have a responsibility to introduce the concept of digital citizenship and set up our kids to become good digital citizens that can think critically about all the positives as well as the negatives that are linked to the abundant amount of technology we have at our fingertips.

Building Digital Citizens: The role of schools in shaping students’ online identities

Schools should play a significant role in supporting students in the development of their digital identities by providing them with education and resources on responsible and safe online behavior, digital citizenship, and media literacy. This includes teaching students about the potential risks and consequences of their online actions, such as cyberbullying, online privacy, and digital security, as well as the benefits of positive digital engagement, such as communication, collaboration, and self-expression. Additionally, schools should model positive digital behavior and have policies in place that promote safe and responsible use of technology.

Safe Online Behavior

An article from Common Sense Media highlight 9 basics that parents can share with their children, which can easily be worked into a classroom setting.

Digital Citizenship

One thing that schools can help students is how to create a .

So what are some things students should know, and what are some things we can teach them?

  1. Online Privacy and Security: Understanding the importance of protecting personal information online, such as passwords, addresses, and credit card numbers, and the ways to keep them secure.  As Jeff mentioned on Discord, his school division, as well as mine, have been having staff complete modules on cybersecurity.
  2. Cyberbullying and Online Harassment: Recognizing the harmful effects of cyberbullying and harassment and knowing how to report and address these incidents.  Bell Let’s Talk was just last month, and Pink Shirt Day is coming up next week, where as educators, we can bring light to situations such
    Screenshot of a fake LeBron James account after Twitter allowed users to buy a verified checkmark.

    as bullying and the issues they can create, and how we can help.

  3. Digital Footprint: Knowing how to manage one’s digital reputation and the impact that online actions can have on future opportunities, such as college admissions or job applications.
  4. Digital Etiquette and Respect: Understanding the importance of respectful and responsible online communication and behavior, including avoiding hate speech and plagiarism.
  5. Media Literacy: Knowing how to critically evaluate online information and sources, including the ability to identify fake news and propaganda.  This has been a growing issue, since events from the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, to the events after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
  6. Copyright and Intellectual Property: Understanding the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use and sharing of online content, including the proper use of images, music, and videos.  Google classroom has a handy add-on, that allows checking work for plagerism.  In middle years, students are developing researching skills, and when presenting their findings, this is a major concern.

Where do we go from here?

Identifying and addressing the issues are step number one as educators.  We need to know what we are going to talk about with the students, so we need to understand how they are using technology.  School divisions create accounts on Microsoft and Google, that students use from early on, where they are just learning the basics, to graduation.  While these are temporary, we need to promote proper use, as they will be continue using technology, and creating new accounts once they are finished passing through our classrooms.

But we also need to be aware of what technology and apps they use outside of school, and address the concerns and issues that could arise from these.  New apps and fads come into our schools and students lives faster than many of us are aware of.  First was Snapchat, then TikTok, in the summer was BeReal.  Who knows what the latest craze is, but this is something we should find out, and teach the students how to use it appropriately, and what are the possible dangers.

We need to lead by example.  I’m sure many of us in the education field maintain a good digital footprint and etiquette.  How did we learn this?  Many of us grew up as the internet was developing, from the dial-up modem and single computer in the house, to the handheld devices of today.  We have obviously learned lessons throughout this time, and it is now our turn to pass it along to our students.

Mentoring Kind & Capable Digital Citizens

Approaching ‘Digital Citizenship’ in my classroom has become as normal as defining classroom expectations at the start of each school year. I have the students give their input for defining classroom expectations both in person and online for the year. They usually come up with the same answers each time we do this, with some guidance or prompting from me. They know the difference between right and wrong (generally) by the time they reach the middle years, they just lose their way sometimes (I blame hormones). Beyond our own personal regulations that students help define, our school division has a “BYOT” policy (bring your own technology) where the students and their parents can sign forms that include a list of rules and expectations for the school year. These policies include appropriate use, and general “Netiquette.”

The overarching goal: Educating our students to be as kind online as they would be in real life. Or even moreso.

via GIPHY

Besides general rules and guidelines, I feel as though it is also important to discuss topics like online relationship building. Commenting (or not commenting) on each other’s social media posts is a huge deal to kids at this vulnerable age. They do things like maintain ‘Snapstreaks’, form private group chats, post stories and photos, and ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on each other’s posts with things like hearts or fire emojis to show signs of approval or inclusion. Things that may seem miniscule to adults can weigh on their minds and make them feel included or left out at the mere click of a button.

Becoming citizens in their online community will also help them to foster relationships with people that have similar interests. I see this being a huge benefit, especially in small rural schools with small populations. The chances of having the exact same interests as someone in a class of 8 are slim to none…so they can turn to the wonderful and expansive internet to seek out companionship.

We as teachers should also aim to assist our students in structuring their identities, and then to nurture or foster growth in a responsible manner. Also, to challenge their critical thinking, and to help them to create as an outlet.

Lastly, for the betterment of society! We live online, so let’s utilize it for the better, and teach our students to do the same.