As students are becoming more and more dependent on their devices to get through the day, we as educators have to teach each one of our students the ins and outs of digital citizenship. I few days I go I put up a post on my facebook account asking parents and educators what age should we start teaching kids about digital safety?
The average response was that as soon as children start using devices. While looking into this I found studies that say that children are starting to use the internet for at least an hour a day starting at the age of three. I for one am a parent that allow my son to watch youtube or play games with my phone while we are out. However, with this comes responsibility. For my son who is four, I have to teach him about what sites are ok to go on and what to do it something is not right. But that is just the start.
As an Educator, I feel that in school I have the responsibility to teach my students about what it means to be a digital citizen. Many believe that there are different ways to teach this idea. If digital citizenship includes ideas on digital literacy and digital etiquette, the idea of being ethical also is an important piece. Many of our students do not think that being ethical on the internet is a concern for them. But it is, many universities, colleges, and employers are going on the internet to see what they are posting before they are offered scholarships and positions.
Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University says that there are 5 issues ethical issues that need to be addressed when teaching about digital citizenship. They are Identity, Privacy, Ownership, Trustworthiness, and Participation. In our everyday lives, these areas make up who we are. To teach our students these simple yet very important areas of digital citizenship I have come up with different online resources to help. First, I really like the ideas and resources that Edutopia has. 5-minute films are videos on digital citizenship that can be shown to students of every age. ISTE has a resource guide with 9 different and engaging ways to teach digital citizenship. Lastly, the Saskatchewan government has also published a guide to teaching digital citizenship.
Although digital citizenship is a loaded subject that has many different ways that one can go about teaching it, there are many different resources out there to help one conquer this quest. Technology is not going to be going away, so we have to now face it head-on can teach our students that they can be upstanding citizens in their neighbourhoods and online.