Administrators can promote and model safe online interactions by developing a plan to educate students and their parents on the dangers of online, social interactions and how to respond to them.
Based on the Norton Online Family Report, 62% of students claimed they have had a bad experience online and four out of ten students described their bad experience as cyberbullying or receiving inappropriate photos (Steinberg, 2012). Cyberbullying is just one of the dangers lurking on the Internet today. According to Hinduja and Patchin (2015), in their 2015 CyberBullying Data, based on a random sampling of teenagers, 34.4% have been cyberbullied at one point in their life. Digital citizenship education would help teach students the appropriate ways to use the Internet and communicate online. Sites like Common Sense Media and Netsmartz Kids are perfect starting points when administrators are developing a digital citizenship curriculum. It is important, with the advancements in social media today, that our students are education on appropriate online social etiquette.
It is important that administrators have developed policies that address cyber safety and that the school community is educated on these policies. Educating the parents of our students is extremely important especially since most of them did not have experiences with technology growing up. I agree with Steinberg (2012) that is concerning that a quarter of young people claim their parents have no clue what they are doing when they are on the Internet. It is important for administrators to not only develop a digital citizenship curriculum for the students, but to share and promote the curriculum with the parents. According to Steinberg (2012), the process of learning online social norms is an ongoing process and needs to continue at home. Administrators can create videos and post them on the school's social media site, or they can create a blog to encourage learning and discussion outside of school. For families with little or no access to the Internet, informative fliers, similar to the Family Tip Sheets (Common Sense Education, 2015).
Administrators must take the lead and create a school environment that promotes safe and appropriate digital learning.
Cyber Safety, Digital Learning, and Digital Citizenship Resources
Common Sense Media
Think U Know
Cyberbullying Research Center
Common Sense Education,. (2015). Family Tip Sheets | Common Sense Media. Commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved 23 November 2015, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/family-tip-sheets
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2015). 2015 Cyberbullying Data - Cyberbullying Research Center. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved 23 November 2015, from http://cyberbullying.org/2015-data/
Steinburg, S. (2012). Why Digital Citizenship Must Be Taught in Schools. All Things D.
Retrieved from http://allthingsd.com/20120319/why-digital-citizenship-must-be-taught-in-schools/