Recently there have been an increase in the number of cyber bullying issues and as a result I have chosen to focus on Digital Citizenship as our topic for this week.
As we have discussed earlier, Digital Citizenship means understanding and making the choice to use the internet and technology appropriately and safely. This can include e-mail etiquette, proper citing and use of internet resources, as well as security and safety. With children as young as 3 clicking on webpages and playing online games in school, we need to teach children how to use the online community safely and respectfully. We can withdraw students’ access to technology to ensure that there is no inappropriate behaviour occurring, however we have a responsibility to educate students on how to interact with others online in a respectful and responsible manner.
In my work with students of various ages and ability levels, the one rule that I have found to be the most effective and easiest for students of all ages to understand is the ‘Grandma Rule’. In effect, ‘If what you are about to post, isn’t something you would say aloud to your Grandma (or have her read online if she is rather tech savvy), then simply do not post it.’ The internet is not an erasable or forgiving entity. Even when items appear to be ‘deleted’ they continue to live on in cyberspace and can return in the most inopportune times or can be located by authorities who choose to search for them. Students who believe that they are posting anonymously via text or message boards, are often unaware that their individual device has a ‘digital fingerprint’ and can be traced back to the device. Finally, reminding students that leaving their accounts (UGCloud, Facebook or other) open when they are not around could lead to others posting on their behalf. Always remember to log out or lock devices when they are not in use and remain secure – teachers too!
The following are some of the online resources teachers can use to instruct students on how to effectively behave online. They include lesson plans, public service announcements as well as videos and additional resources. Please take the time to discuss proper behaviour and safety with your students when they log on and continue to discuss it as their technological abilities increase.
Canada’s Center for Digital and Media Literacy - http://mediasmarts.ca/
Mike Ribble’s Citizenship Webpage - http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Home_Page.html
- contains ‘Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship’ which is ideal for teaching
Common Sense Media - http://www.commonsensemedia.org
- Contains wonderful fully created lesson plans for educators
Concerned Children’s Advertisers - http://play.longlivekids.ca/educator/media