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Teaching Good Digital Citizenship

Teaching Good Digital Citizenship

Create a positive online culture at your school - and your teachers will reap the benefits in the classroom, too. These tips can help get you started.
  • 1) Involve your students in defining digital citizenship for your school.
    By involving students in the process of creating a definition of digital citizenship at your school, you will not only set the stage for teaching about important issues, but your students will feel a greater sense of responsibility to adhere to your school's standards. Try beginning the conversation with your students by talking about values. What does your school value - Respect? Honesty? Courtesy? Kindness?
  • 2) Set the facts straight.
    Use this exercise to re-emphasize the basics of online safety. Be sure to teach your students these key cyber-smart concepts:
    • Keep private things private. This includes passwords, settings, and location data.
    • Use common sense and think before you post. Remember that everything online will last forever.
    • Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
    • Remember Thumper: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
  • 3) When appropriate, address the heavier topics.
    With middle and high school students, it may be appropriate to address some more difficult but important topics that tend to hit the news headlines — including mental health, sexting, and cyberbullying. Try asking your students to think about the trusted adults in their lives - including school staff - to whom they feel they could turn for help for themselves or a friend. Teach your students about the resources that your school has to help them if they think that they or a friend are in trouble. Make them aware of warning signs that a friend may be hurting.

Help your students learn to make good decisions online. We hope these tips will help to improve your school climate by building a culture of good digital citizenship at your school!

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