Digital Citizenship Week
Monday, October 16, 2023
It's one of my favorite weeks (next to Media Literacy Week and Digital Wellness Day!). Digital Citizenship Week is a momentous occasion to reflect on the vital role we all play in shaping responsible and informed digital citizens. As parents/guardians, educators, and mentors, it's our responsibility to guide our tweens and teens in navigating the complex and often daunting digital landscape. This week, let's delve into core of digital citizenship, emphasizing the connection between digital wellness, online safety, media literacy, and balance. These essential aspects are the building blocks of responsible and empowered digital citizenship.
Digital Wellness - A Prerequisite for Digital Citizenship:
In my honest opinion, the journey towards becoming a responsible digital citizen begins with a foundational concept - digital wellness. That's why I began focusing on digital wellness over digital citizenship, as it really focuses on the values we have for ourselves, first. It's the understanding that our digital habits and behaviors profoundly affect our overall well-being. It's who we are, and who we want to be in the digital world, that then creates impact...positively or negatively. As we engage in various online activities, whether for education, entertainment, or connection, it's crucial to strike a balance. Teaching our children and students about screen time management and mindful tech use is a step toward a healthier relationship with screens.
Online Safety - Safeguarding Digital Lives:
In the vast digital universe, online safety is paramount. Just as we teach our kids to look both ways before crossing the street, they need to learn the equivalent online. This includes recognizing and avoiding cyberbullying, practicing safe social media habits, and understanding privacy settings. Cultivating a strong sense of digital safety ensures that tweens and teens can confidently navigate the internet while protecting themselves and their personal information.
Media Literacy - The Power of Critical Thinking:
Media literacy equips tweens and teens with the critical thinking skills they need to navigate an information-rich world. Teaching tweens and teens to discern credible sources from misinformation, and to question the content they consume, is a key component of digital citizenship. By nurturing media literacy, we empower them to engage with the digital realm intelligently and ethically.
Balance - The Harmony Between On and Offline Lives:
Digital citizenship doesn't just revolve around responsible online behavior; it extends into the real world. Balancing the digital and physical worlds is essential for both mental health and productive living. Encourage your children and students to strike this balance by participating in offline activities, nurturing real-life friendships, and taking breaks from screens.
A Collaborative Effort:
The path to digital wellness and digital citizenship is not one that kids and teens should figure out alone. It's a journey that parents, educators, and mentors must embark upon together. Open communication, shared experiences and boundary setting, and the setting of a positive digital example are all essential elements of raising responsible digital citizens.
During Digital Citizenship Week, let's strive to foster digital wellness, online safety, media literacy, and balance for our tweens and teens. By providing guidance in these areas, we can empower them to be responsible, ethical, and informed digital citizens. For help in teaching these valuable skills, I've put together resources in digital citizenship for grades 1-4 and 5-8, as well as a digital wellness activity for grades 3-8. Also, schools and educators should check out Tim Evan's curriculum scope and sequence to help you with your year long planning alongside the amazing resources from Common Sense Media.