Still quite topical in the news has been the use of social media platforms and the internet by students in schools. This was further highlighted this week by a cross-campus debate attended by our Year 9 students around the topic, "Is the internet good for us?"
To see Year 9s clearly articulate the positives and negatives of the internet was a reminder of the power of words and communication. Both sides of the argument had very valid points; however, the overwhelming theme that emerged was it is not the internet that is good or bad, but the decisions and choices people make in using it.
The notion of choices people make resonates strongly amongst our Middle School students as they move through the turbulent period of adolescents. We constantly talk about choices in learning and behaviour wanting each of our students to strive to be the best they can in all their interactions.
As a community, we also need to keep finding ways to help our young people be good digital citizens. Below are some ideas which are relevant to helping us all be good citizens which comes from 'Common Sense Me'.
Five Essential Facts of Digital Life
1. Students are the creators. It is all about participating; communicating; making music, images, and videos; and posting written content. And the content that is there? Students must be able to know whether it is credible or not.
2. Everything happens in front of a vast, invisible, and often anonymous audience.
3. Once something is out there, it lasts for a long time. Everything leaves a digital footprint.
4. Information cannot be controlled. Anything can be copied, changed, and shared instantly.
5. Distance and anonymity separate actions and consequences. Students think they can get away with unethical or unacceptable behaviour because they do not see immediate consequences.
With Power Comes Responsibility
The internet, texting, social networking; these are the realities of teen life today. And while all of these things can be misused, they also have the potential for being powerful tools when used responsibly.
Digital Citizenship Tips for Teens
For teens, here are four simple rules of digital citizenship to help them create a world they can be proud of, and inspire others to do the same.
· Think before you post or text -- a bad reputation could be just a click away. Before you press the ‘send’ button, imagine the last person in the world you would want seeing what you post.
· What goes around comes around. If you want your privacy respected, respect others’ privacy. Posting an embarrassing photo or forwarding a friend’s private text without asking can cause unintended hurt or damage to others.
· Spread heart, not hurt. If you would not say it in person, do not say it online. Stand up for those who are bullied or harassed, and let them know that you are there for them.
· Make this a world you want to live in. Spread the good stuff. Create, share, tag, comment, and contribute to the online world in positive ways.
Digital Citizenship Tips for Parents
We live in a rapidly changing media and technology world in which children are far more plugged in digitally than parents and teachers are, and these technologies present huge challenges for them and how they grow up. Digital dramas can have a lasting effect on a teen’s life. But parents can make a real impact on the future of teens growing up in a digital world. Help teens help themselves.
· The internet is not written in pencil. It is written in pen. What teens do online spreads fast and lasts long. Remind them to think before they post.
· Nothing is as private as they think. Anything teens say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people in a heartbeat. Make sure they use privacy settings and understand the best way to protect their secrets is not to post personal stuff.
· Kindness counts. The anonymity of the digital world can lead children to say and do things online they would not in person. Encourage them to communicate kindly, stand up for others, and build positive online relationships rooted in respect.
· Embrace their world. None of us wants technology to isolate us from our children. Do some homework, and ask them to share the sites they visit, the songs they download, the gadgets they love. It is up to us to join the fun and help them seize the potential.
* Source: Be a Good Digital Citizen: Tips for Teens and Parents, In HYPERLINK (Read More) Digital citizenship by HYPERLINK (Read More) Common Sense Me..., on 12.09.2016