One of the most important open forums you can have with your students contains information about being a responsible digital citizen. Instead of making it a targeted lesson, although this may be a conversation starter, questioning how a post or tweet or photo appears to the general public can model how students can continually monitor their content on the internet. Mike Ribble’s website offers many great tips on teaching how to be responsible with your own and other people’s information. His Respect, Educate, Protect lesson is a great start to help students to question the content they are posting.
Stories in the national press that covered the recent Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons cases show high school students the real life outcome of digital responsibility. In discussing the reaction to information posted by others about these teenagers, students may be empathetic to these situations. It is not a stretch to think most students have encountered social media scenarios with inappropriate or bullying content. The need for constant conversation about a teenager’s digital identity is critical and, as an educator, you are in a position to take part in this conversation.
Children as young as grade 3 are beginning to have a digital identity and it is crucial for them to understand the implications of information freely given and posted on the internet. Again, as an educator, you are positioned to model and mold safe, responsible, digital citizens. Talk about being social media savvy, today, tomorrow and everyday until these students are safely launched into the digital world.