Digital citizenship for a digital world
The latest gadgets and gizmos are top of mind for many parents and guardians as the holiday season gets into full swing. Between smartphones, laptops, tablets, video game consoles, virtual reality headsets, and other devices, so much of our time is spent connected to the digital world – that’s why it is crucial for young people to develop good digital citizenship.
Technology continues to change rapidly. For many parents and guardians, all that change can be hard to keep up with, even for those who are tech–savvy. Because the Marshalltown CSD takes pride in providing students with access to high–quality digital technology to enhance learning, we also make it a priority to discuss digital citizenship with students.
One key example of this is MCSD teacher librarians’ incorporation of digital citizenship into their lessons. Classroom teachers can also tie certain aspects of digital citizenship into students’ course work.
With personal digital devices so widespread, it is clear that digital citizenship is important both inside and outside of the classroom. Parents and guardians can play a powerful role in guiding their children to being great digital citizens.
One excellent source of digital citizenship info is Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit organization that works to provide help for kids living in a world of media and technology – they provide educators and parents with advice, information and tools to help make smart media choices.
Here are some tips shared by Common Sense Media:
• Teach kids the skills they need to use technology wisely — It is difficult to shelter children from the digital world. We need to talk with them about how to behave online and what guidelines we want them to follow.
• Keep an open mind — Whether we like it or not, the digital world is reality. We need to understand that our kids will live their lives in a connected world much different than the one we grew up in.
• Don’t be afraid — Hiding from the technology will not help. If you don’t know what something is, what it does, or how to use it, ask your child to show you. They may enjoy teaching you!
• Share your wisdom and pass along your values — Extend your parenting skills into the digital world. A lot of the same messages we would pass along regarding face–to–face connections are still important online. How we talk on screen is not any different than speaking out loud.
• Seek balance — The digital world has many positives and negatives. While we want to give our children freedom and privacy we also want to make sure they are protected. Don’t be afraid to check in and be aware of what is happening online, and know that they can be safe and responsible before letting them loose. Setting time limits, or a nightly time and place to turn in and charge personal devices can help limit excessive time online.
For more family tips available by age, topic, and platform from Common Sense Media, visit www.commonsensemedia.org/digital–parenting or https://www.commonsense.org/education/family–resources.
David Stanfield is an Instructional Design Specialist for the Marshalltown Community School District.