Get your elbows off the tables, stop yelling at each other we are in the car, don’t wear your hat in the house….All things I’ve been told many times growing up, as well as referenced numerous times as a parent.  What does it boil down to?  Etiquette and manners.  When I think about how I go about teaching Digital Citizenship in my classes and in dealing with my own children, Mike Ribble’s “Nine Elements of a Digital Citizenship” provides a great jump off point to reference.

The nine elements of digital citizenship

Are you a good digital citizen?

The first thing I always talk about with my classes, is in reference to the Golden Rule: Treat others like you would like to be treated.  It doesn’t matter the setting- school, sports, church, Grandma’s house…Every arena or space you step in has its own written or unwritten “Code of Conduct.”  Navigating online spaces is no different.  Similar to our school beliefs, we want students to be respectful, responsible, feel safe, and have the ability to develop and build relationships with one another.  It doesn’t matter the location, I feel all parents would agree that they want these things for their children.

In keeping with Ribble’s 9 elements, most issues I have with technology and digital literacy can be traced back to a lack of understanding or deliberate breaking of the principles.  Whether it be an overuse of AI to plagiarize an assignment, or a complete old school copy and paste, students have to be held accountable to the information they are presenting or discussing in the online world.  By holding them accountable, students can show us their critical thinking, and thought process behind their ideas and work.  My struggle is always being able to teach them the proper way to comb through search results and find valid information.  They want the quick fix and sometimes don’t understand the information they are regurgitating isn’t factual.  Ironically, they are quick to jump on classmates posts, or ideas, if they know the information is incorrect.  Once again, hopefully they can do it respectfully but much of the time that’s not the case.  Rude or negative comments, said or written, are often the first thing out of their mouths or their keyboards.

Are we safe online?

This week I had a student ask me a question during one of my rants about the misuse of Snapchat whether they are safe using apps like that.  Yes, I have it and I use it, I just don’t think 10 year-olds need to have access to it without proper guidance on how to use.  We discussed different reasons they might be at risk using messaging apps or making posts, and once again it came back to proper etiquette.  If you are properly using these apps, and social media sites, respectfully and responsibly, then the risk of having issues is quite low.  Know the information you are sharing, know that is it going to be out there for all to see, and most importantly know who you are exactly sharing that information with.

Teen girl showing smartphone screen with copy space over yellow background

And once again, my oldest child will be mad because he isn’t getting that cell phone for his birthday.  It’s not I don’t think he could handle it, it’s more that I see his peers having so many issues that why would I put him in that position as a parent. Unitl next time, use those manners!