Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tool 10: Digital Citizenship

I would want to teach my students about overexposure, cyberbullying, and respecting creative work. The first two go together through texting and Facebook. Kids often think their comments are anonymous or will never been seen by other people. They don't understand that by default, both can easily be accessed by someone with physical access to their phone. Without a passcode, anyone would be able to read the entirety of their messages and probably log in to their Facebook account because they keep the password stored.

Many students are unaware that once a message leaves their phone, whoever received it can do whatever they want. So inappropriate pictures can wind up on any other phone even if the girl had no intention of that happening. Twitter streams are also completely public by default and can be viewed by anyone as long as they know the username, it is not necessary to have a Twitter account. Cyberbullying plays off the first two as access to unlimited messages and the internet through their phone gives kids an "anonymous" voice. Many do not understand that written words can be just as hurtful.

The last issue of respecting creative work requires education. Kids usually know how to get music from a friend very easily and without jobs, they don't have the means to pay for things anyway. So it is often seen as ok to take movies, music, etc. As teachers, we should set the example of paying for these items in front of the kids or giving proper attribution to free material.

The lessons from Common Sense Media appear to be very thorough and cover a range of topics for kids of all ages. I think some of the lessons there should be required reading before students are granted access to technology on campus.

Many parents would be shocked to learn some of the things done via text/online messaging. It wouldn't hurt to incorporate these lessons as an opener to parent night or as a part of PTA meetings. 

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