Inspiring Digital Responsibility in Young Minds

June 6, 2024 0 By Karlee Michael

The world online right now is a scary place and I don’t think it is fair for students just to be thrown into this scary place without the proper education. It is our job as educators to protect our students and set them up for success in their futures and this doesn’t just go for the things that happen directly in our classroom, it is things they will face in the real world also. I know when I was teaching grade 1 I taught my students about pedestrian safety to help them navigate the world outside the classroom. I believe if we are teaching them how to be safe in their community we should also be teaching them how to be safe online. 

When teaching digital citizenship in my future classroom I want my students to know what is appropriate for them to know at their age. The things that a Kindergartener should know vs a Grade 6 student are different but if they are using technology they should at least know the basics to keeping themselves safe. 

Taking a look at the Digital Citizenship Continuum I had not thought about some of the things they have included to teach at different age groups. The one that I hadn’t thought of but realized I had taught to my Grade 1’s was to do with digital etiquette, it was the one about being aware of the volume of your device. I realized I had taught this to my Grade 1’s during pre-internship, it was just done more informally by giving them reminders that their device was too loud to turn it down as it makes it harder for their classmates to focus. This message got through to the students by doing it this way and I know that because I would hear my students asking their classmates to turn down their device. 

As I look into the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship it makes me start to reflect on how I have informally taught a bit of digital citizenship to my students. I am realizing that it always doesn’t need to be taught in a formal lesson setting. Teaching digital citizenship can be done by asking students questions while they are working, for example “Is what you are saying online kind to others?” or “What are we doing right now to make sure we are being safe online?” When I was thinking about how I could teach digital fluency in my classroom I thought about having checklists or reference cards for students to look over for them to use to check if a website is safe & reliable. Every student learns in a different way. We are taught to teach in different ways to be able to reach all of our students and I think the same thing goes for teaching digital citizenship, every student deserves to learn the information and what works for one student may not work for them all.