Digital Citizenship

The videos this week were very interesting to me.  I think that our world is changing so quickly, and people are trying so hard to keep up. One of these issues is digital citizenship. I wasn’t planning on watching all of the first video, but it kept my interest (I did some laundry while I watched so I got some things done around my house at the same time! 🙂 ).  During the first part of the video, the panel talked about dropping the word digital, and just focus on the word citizenship.  I don’t think I could agree with these people more.  I think that our world needs to learn how to be good citizens, and as we teach our young people that  we can infuse the digital part.  When I was young, I was taught the golden rule.  When I started using computers and forms of social media (aol instant messenger, msn messenger, myspace…etc) I was told to not put anything on the internet that I wouldn’t want my grandmother to see.  I don’t know why, but that has stuck with me, and it worked for me!

When I started thinking about my classroom of first graders, I thought that we are doing a pretty good job of teaching kids to be good people and good citizens.   Our counselor comes around to all classrooms k-5, and does lessons with them about how to be good people, how we should treat people, and what to do in case of problems.  I think that this is a great start, but we need to extend this even further.  I’m not sure about what happens in the older grades, but I want to find out what the higher lessons are about.  As educators, I think we need to be very aware of teachable moments.  We need to be teaching the words character, integrity, and honesty.  I think the more exposure kids to get to this stuff, the better.

One of the big problems that they talked about was about parent involvement.  One of the panel members said that it’s a different generation of people.  He said that he grew up in a world that had mom’s coming in to help out in classrooms very often.  It was the norm to have your mom at school every once in a while.  Now, parents are working multiple jobs and there just simply isn’t time for them to come in and be apart of their learning.  For the most part, I believe that parents really do try their best to be good parents and sometimes it just doesn’t cut it.  I really liked the idea of having a group or go-to person for parents to go to when they need help with something that has to do with digital type stuff.  Maybe their kid is being bullied online, parents need to know how to help.  i feel like this is one of the biggest problems.  Parents don’t know how to help, even if they want to.

The last point I would like to make comes from the report http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media/Part-2/Section-1.aspx . I was very interested in how middle school girls seems to report much higher percentages of girls being mean online.  My personal opinion is that these girls are trying to figure out who they are, and the internet is a way to do this.  They can lash out at other people, use bad language, and do other things that are no appropriate at school or in public without any repercussions.  It’s easy to say things to people that you don’t really have to say it to, you don’t have to see their face and I think that makes a huge difference!

Bottom line, we all need to get on the same page with digital citizenship.  It needs to be taught at home, at school, and in the world.  Kids need to see digital media being exhibited in the real world.  They need to see parents, teachers, and authorities using the internet in the way it is expected to be used.

All of these points have to do with number 5 in the student NETS standards. Students need to see all kinds of media, understand it,  and be taught how to use it properly. I feel like all of the subheadings (a-d) were all address or alluded to in the videos.  Overall, I think the most important is letter a: “Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.”

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2 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship

  1. I completely agree with you when you wrote about how it is easier for some people to be mean online because they aren’t actually seeing the person who they are talking to. This is very true for a lot of things in the digital world. I feel that students have fewer inhibitions online. They might post or text racy pictures when they wouldn’t actually leave the house dressed that way. Or they might make a comment to someone (it could be a mean comment or a racy comment etc) that they would never actually make in person. It is easier for students to be more forward in a digital world. This is why it is very important for us to teach digital citizenship. We need to talk to our students about appropriate behavior online, and empower them to be good citizens of their digital world.

    In my blog post on digital citizenship, I also talked about how teaching digital citizenship should be an extension of teaching community citizenship. It shouldn’t be only a specific curriculum, but also a daily conversation like regular citizenship is. I find myself constantly reminding my students to be respectful and courteous, and this is something that applies to their online time as well as their class time.

    Thank you for such an insightful post.

  2. Amanda, I could not agree more with you regarding the dropping of the word digital and leaving just citizenship! If we can teach our students to be good citizens first, then we can extend this from the “real world” to the digital world. I suppose the standard (NETS-S 5) must include digital simply because we are dealing with the technology end of this issue.

    I like how your counselor comes to the classrooms and talks about citizenship etc. Perhaps this does not happen in High School simply because of the time factor or because we think they should know it by now. I think that it is important to keep talking about this all through school as it is such a key issue that can have devastating results on students at either end of the keystrokes!

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