Staying Safe in a Digital World
In school, I remember a few instances that digital citizenship/cyber safety was brought up. In grade 7, (11 years ago) I remember having our school resource officer come and do a presentation on cyber bullying. Although I learned a lot, it seemed very negative. It focused entirely on what not to do online. They talked about the different types of bullying that happens online and the legal penalties that we could face if charged with cyberbullying. I left the presentation feeling nervous. Although I was always cautious with my presence online, being warned about being charged was frightening. I cannot remember many other instances besides this presentation where we were explicitly taught about online behaviour.
I also can not recall ever learning about strategies that you should partake in to be a good digital citizen while online. This is why I believe we need to focus on both aspects in schools. Of course it is important to teach students about inappropriate and disrespectful online behaviour and the consequences that can ensue, but I think we should also teach them how empowering it can be to positively use technology and media as a way to enhance aspects of your life. A quote from the article Character Education For The Digital Age written by Jason Ohler, explains that “we must help our digital kids balance the individual empowerment of digital technology use with a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility.” Media and technology is everywhere. Kids will continue using technology whether or not we incorporate it into the classroom. We might as well take the opportunity to help shape their view of what it means to be a good digital citizen while they are young as we all know that once something is out on the internet, it is difficult to remove.