If you’ve never heard the term digital native, it describes children born since 1980. Children and young people born into and raised in a digital world (post-1980) may work, study, and interact in very different ways from “digital immigrants,” or individuals who were born just a generation before. Digital natives have grown up with internet access, depend heavily on mobile devices, heavily consume social networking services, consider speed to be among the most important characteristics of digital products and services, and multitask across devices and between work and entertainment.
The world and the technology in it are vastly different today than in 1980 and digital citizenship skills are essential in this world. Digital citizens think critically about what they see online, understand the benefits and risks of sharing information, and balance screen time with other activities. But digital citizens aren’t born, they learn. Parents, teachers, and children all need to gain these skills in order to live in today’s technology-driven world. These skills teach you to consider the information you read online, how much time you spend online, and how much we share about ourselves and others online.
#digcitweek from October 19-23 is dedicated to focusing on the importance of and raising awareness of digital citizenship. Whether you are a homeschooling parent, adult, teacher, or student, there is a wealth of resources you can use to improve and learn these essential skills.
Common Sense Media is a resource that can be useful for both parents and teachers. Since 2003, Common Sense has been the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools. Every day, millions of parents and educators trust Common Sense reviews and advice to help them navigate the digital world with their kids. For #DigCitWeek, they’ve developed lessons for students in grades K-12 that can be found here. Topics in the interactive lessons include: dealing with negativity online, privacy, social media, health effects of tech, and several more.
PBS Learning Media offers many resources on digital citizenship. Their topics cover social media readiness, the trustworthiness of online influencers, internet trolls, and more.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has numerous webinars and resources for educators that offer professional development for all levels. Here are a few topics:
- Empowering Learners to be Proactive Digital Citizens
- DigCit Now! Digital Leadership Superpowers
- Digital Citizenship in Action course offered this fall.
“Digital Natives”, American Library Association, February 19, 2015. http://www.ala.org/tools/future/trends/digitalnatives (Accessed September 3, 2020).
“You know your kids. We know media and tech.
Together we can build a digital world where our kids can thrive”, Common Sense Media, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/our-mission (Accessed September 3, 2020).