Digital Citizenship It’s More Important Than Ever
In today’s technological society being an outstanding digital citizen is more important than ever. Technology is shrinking our world by making our connections to others so effortless and not constrained by either time or place. We are able to collaborate and interact with anyone on the planet that is connected to the internet. This fact is what is driving the push to educate our children (as young as possible) about digital citizenship.
Digital citizenship covers all of the following topics: Self-Image and Identity, Relationships and Communication, Digital Footprint and Reputation, Cyberbullying and Digital Drama, Information Literacy, Internet Safety, Privacy and Security, and Creative Credit and Copyright. All of these topics not only cover what is best when on digital devices, but also offers connections about how to navigate situations they may experience in “real life.” Being a good digital citizen mirrors being a GOOD CITIZEN.
Safety is always our top priority as parents and educators. Having digital citizenship discussions with our students helps them create links to what we already instill in them about safety. We are emphasizing the point that any interaction on a screen has a person on the other end whether it be a best friend, acquaintance, or a stranger.
As parents we look to make transitions as simple as possible for our children. We begin preparing them for the first day of kindergarten long before it happens; we take them to their jr. high school and walk them around so they don’t feel lost and confused the first day; we discuss stranger danger and basic safety with them before we let them go play with others or visit a friend’s house without us being there; let’s make sure we prepare them for their digital experiences as well.
It is always good to have a conversation with our children as early as possible in order to lay a firm foundation of expectations and use. Then, those conversations will be easier as time goes on. Technology is always changing and the conversations we have with our children about technology will too. If you are in need of a place to start then consider creating a family media contract. If you follow this URL it will take you to a simple easy to use Family Media Agreement from Common Sense Media http://bit.ly/csmfma1. This media agreement also has some suggested talking points and questions to discuss with your child which you may find helpful. Once you follow the link choose “File” and then “Print.” For information/reviews on everything from books to apps you can visit www.commonsensemedia.org/reviews.