Thing #8 – Digital Citizenship

My Digital Citizenship Weakness – Lesson Learned!

As I reviewed the nine themes of digital citizenship, I found that my weakest point was Protect… that goes for rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and digital security.  The problem being, I am consistently the one in the crowd with rose-colored glasses, despite the 43 years of “life” I have experienced.  One would think I would learn something and begin to protect myself or at least be a bit more wary and conscious of what could go wrong.  Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that the three areas under the “Protect” category were my weakest spots.  The rights and responsibilities of the digital world have never really occurred to me, and I was equally ignorant when it came to physical and psychological issues that pertained to technology and Internet usage.  I think the most eye-opening aspect was the security issue.  This is really an area that I needed to research because if I don’t protect myself and my identity, there is the potential for days/weeks/months/years of hassle and headache that can be easily prevented with just a few precautions.

The first step in building on a weakness is recognizing that there is a weakness.  A quick reading of the “Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship” took care of that.  I also reviewed the resources provided in the area of digital security on the Common Sense Media site and 21 Things for Students.  I took a couple of the quizzes, read through the lesson plans, and found that I am WAY too trusting of everything!  It was time to take some action!  The first thing I did was to Google myself, seeing what was out there that was all about me.  I was surprised to find that there wasn’t very much on me aside from a couple of pictures, but it was a little unnerving to see that my boys (ages 21 and 19) were on there a bit more.  Being actively involved in sports and extracurricular activities in high school, I guess it was to be expected, but to see that anyone could look them up, find their home address and phone number – it doesn’t set too well with me.  The worst thing EVER was the White Pages experience.  Not only did it pull each member of my family up, showing that there was a connection to all of us and our ages, but with the click of a button, you can see a Google Satellite Map of my house as well as the names, addresses and phone numbers of my 20 closest neighbors…and we live out in the middle of nowhere!!

What I have learned in the area of Digital Security may seem like a small step to some, but for me, it’s HUGE!  I now realize how easy it is to find information about me and my family.  If it’s that easy to find us, how hard is it really to discover social security numbers, passwords, banking information, etc.  Being aware will certainly lead me to take more precautions, and I am grateful for this “thing”.

Adding Digital Citizenship Resources to the Weebly Page

The community where I teach could certainly benefit from the Educate area.  I teach in a small rural community that is centered around a state highway that directly connects two major cities, leading to an extremely high transient population filled with families that are “between” jobs and permanent homes.  Digital awareness is an area that can easily be overlooked, but through my Weebly page, parents have easy access to a number of excellent resources.  I just added a “Parent Support” page under my “Home” tab for parents and guardians that include videos and fact sheets from the Common Sense Media page.  My plan is to add to the list weekly because putting everything there all at once may overwhelm and scare parents away.  The information will directly tie into the topics discussed with students in class, giving a discussion point at home for parents and their children.  Don’t be afraid to check it out ~

Classroom Activity

The Common Sense Media site is FANTASTIC!!  Our media specialist makes sure students know how to use word processing software, data base software, presentation devices, etc., but there is very little presented in digital citizenship.  Therefore, like parents, I want to focus on the Educate area for my students in brief lessons this year, especially as I will be requiring them to me more “digital” than ANY other content classroom in the district.  I want to start with the basics, and Common Sense Media has a lesson entitled Digital Life 101 that will get students started on being aware of how vulnerable they are and how permanent everything can be when it comes to digital communication.  I expect students to be eager to learn about everything that is digital as this is the world they live in – and it is totally digitized.  I also suspect students will be humbled, as I was, by how much they don’t know and are not aware.  I look forward to sharing this information with my students.

ISTE Standards

1b Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources – Using resources such as Common Sense Media, students will begin to see the true nature of what digital citizenship means.

3a Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technology and situations – Quick weekly lessons in digital citizenship, such as the proper and safe way to create an online identity, will keep the education updated and current.

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – Through lessons such as those provided by Common Sense Media, the teacher will be able to directly address the responsibility and importance of security in the digital age.


1 – Setting objectives/providing feedback – Through a lesson on cyber-bullying, students can easily be informed of the cyber-bullying issue and how to prevent it.  With a quick chat on Chatzy that surrounds the classroom activity, the teacher can provide feedback to student comments and questions.

Reinforcing effort/providing recognition – As mentioned above, a Chatzy session would allow students to participate that normally wouldn’t, and the teacher will be able to encourage students and communicate the numerous thoughts and conversations that would surround a topic like cyber-bullying.

Cooperative learning – Digital citizenship is an area that will be a high interest topic for students, simply because this is an area that they are very comfortable.  The teacher could certainly put students into a cooperative learning group and ask them to put together a presentation that would include videos and screen shots of social media conversations, demonstrating examples of cyber bullying and what the students could do to prevent it.


One thought on “Thing #8 – Digital Citizenship

  1. I did a search a couple of years ago and I was so amazed how much info was out there. I could not remember my old phone number and there it was! What amazed me is how it linked me to all my relatives live and deceased. It is easy to find information out on everybody.

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