Making sure students understand that their online actions can
have consequences is an important part of “digital citizenship” and online safety.  Because of an ongoing evolution of technology in education, it is imperative that schools now take on this responsibility of keeping students as safe as possible as they spend more time online.

 

“Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites.”
(Lenhart, et al., 2011)

 

Similar to the meaning of citizenship in the offlineicon-36881_640 world, society is a kinder place when everyone plays by certain rules and follows guidelines for appropriate, respectful behavior. Teaching students about digital citizenship, including how to be safe online, should be a key learning component at every grade level.

 

The concept of digital citizenship refers to “norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use,” according to Mike Ribble’s Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship (2014).  Ribble breaks the nine facets into groups of three:

Respect Your Self/Respect Others

  • Etiquette
  • Access
  • Law

Educate Yourself/Connect with Others

  • Communication
  • Literacy
  • Commerce

Protect Your Self/Protect Others

  • Rights and Responsibility
  • Safety (Security)
  • Health and Welfare

While all of the areas are important for teachers to include in their instruction, this post focuses on the area of safety and protection, particularly on safety.  Students need to understand that their online actions can have lasting effects, positive or negative.  Teachers should help students establish an awareness of their part in the connected, online world.

 

“I can see a day in the not too distant future (if it’s not already here) where your “digital footprint” will carry far more weight than anything you might include in a resume” (Betcher, 2009)

 

Resources for teachers to use with teenagers:

  • To help teens make safer choices online, check out this site that has games, videos and more: http://www.nsteens.org/
  • NetSmartz Workshop has information, and a lot of videos, for teenagers all geared toward helping them make safer choices: http://www.netsmartz.org/Teens

Teenagers use cell phones after school t

The following are sites that have lists of tips:

Internet safety and the law:


 

References

Betcher, C. (2009, May 14). Footsteps. Betchablog. Retrieved from http://chrisbetcher.com/2009/05/footsteps/

Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K., & Rainie, L. (2011). Teens, kindness, and cruelty on social network sites. PEW Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED537516.pdf

Morin, O. (2010, March 29). Teenagers Using Cell Phones. [Digital image]. Getty Images. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/sns-rt-us-millennials-pollbre95i1j4-20130619,0,5718904.story

Ribble, M. (N.d.) Nine Elements. Digitalcitizenship. Retrieved from  http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html

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Safety on the Internet