Calling All Parents and Educators of This Generation’s Digital Citizens

students-7A few weeks ago, I was asked by a parent at my son’s school to share strategies on how to be conscious and aware of what their children were doing on the internet.  This immediately brought back memories of one of my favorite webinars on digital citizenship.  If you missed it, you don’t have to miss out because it’s featured in Discovery Education.  Access it here. (Canadian Subscribers).  Discovery Education also has additional resources about Digital Citizenship. Search for videos, boards, and more.  One of my favorites is “Connected! For Students: Digital Citizenship

In the comment section, let us know how you work with families on strategies for working with this generation’s digital citizens.

Our amazing presenter Devorah shared some final thoughts below.

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The New Digital Citizenship
Our kids’ future success will depend on true digital fluency. Their ability to relate to other people and to succeed in their relationships is completely dependent on developing a strong Digital Skill Set:

  • This Digital Skill Set is an immediate priority. If they don’t start to develop it now, they won’t succeed in today’s—or tomorrow’s—world.
  • This Digital Skill Set is not operational or functional. It is not about how to keyboard or how to code. Anyone can learn that part of it, with enough practice.
  • This Digital Skill Set is about relationships. It’s about what kind of connections we can really have with one another. It’s about trust.

The nuances matter.

The medium matters, and it’s changing all the time. It will continue to evolve. Quickly. How can you keep up? How can you be a good mentor when you feel overwhelmed yourself?

The Solution: Educating Yourself
Simply put, you have to learn in order to teach:

  • Your ability to teach, lead or parent is affected by your own relationship with technology.
  • Your relationship with technology is a model for your students. Learning about their world is a requirement.
  • You have the capability to relate well to other people. You have the capacity to teach it to others.
  • You can’t disconnect and say, “I just don’t get this.” Your students are relying on you to be their guides into this new world.

One of the most important mindsets in positive digital citizenship is focusing on Mentoring over Monitoring.
Mentors recognize that being tech savvy is not the same as wisdom. Our life experience is a critical factor in the equation. Mentors believe in collaboration over control. Co-creating solutions with kids takes advantage of their creativity and builds trust at the same time. The five positive approaches to digital citizenship outlined in this webinar offer pragmatic ideas and some mindsets to try out. I’d love to hear your accounts of how these ideas work for you in your classroom! Share in the comments below.

Devorah Heitner PhD Founder and Director of Raising Digital Natives specializes in providing educators and families guidance and resources that help children thrive in the digital world. She has been featured at SXSWed, TEDx, and PBSKids. Dr. Heitner holds a PhD in Media Technology and Society from Northwestern University and has consulted on policy conducted research and lead workshops at excellent schools throughout the United States.

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