Digital citizenship is a very new concept for me. It is something my district offers through our tech coaches. They offer to come in and do a lesson with our students. This was essentially my introduction to the idea. While I am grateful for the offer I have never taken them up on this offer. For one our coach is a bit disconnected from early childhood and doesn’t seem to understand what we do. Also each time I have received his help with something he actually sent me into further disarray and I ended up with a new problem. With the last couple classes I have taken involving this concept I want and need to teach this myself.
Recently my sister and mother both forwarded a message about the “Momo Challenge“. Knowing my daughter uses Kids YouTube form time to time. This video is explained as a video of a disturbing face encouraging kids to commit suicide and threatening if they don’t their parents will die. Since I was sent this articles have started appearing quite frequently and even Kim Kardashian has pleaded with YouTube to get to the bottom of this.
Initially I was inundated with fear as a mother. After a bit however my teacher brain has sort of turned on and with thinking about digital citizenship I also feel this is an opportunity to teach. Parents and teachers alike should be taking an active role in their kids YouTube use and tech use as a whole. As the article I linked above states parents need to “take an interest in their online interactions”. Even in the classroom I have set appropriate site my students can use. However, I do use YouTube for their brain break videos and I so mindlessly turn on brain break videos without explaining why I do what I do or what to do if you get somewhere you don’t need to be on it. I now see this as a teaching opportunity for my students because I know they use YouTube a lot. I even have an aspiring You Tuber in my class (his mom keeps it on private).
Just as I sit here typing this message I received a message from a parent asking if I heard of this and explaining it to me. It was such interesting timing to receive this. I am finding more of my parents need advice and reassurance involving not only technology but these sort of special situations as well. It is making me consider creating something to hand out to parents with tips and advice for home use of tech. This will definitely
be something I start to think about and would like to gather more information about.
1 thought on “Digital Citizenship in the classroom”
yes yes yes yes yes! Youtube has begun to shift as bad guys have begun gaming the algorithms to recommend the next thing to watch, and there can be conspiracy theorists or racism or other objectionable materials.
The Momo warnings have come up really quickly — when I search, I see school districts and local news outlets offering parents advice. And yet I also see that “Momo” has gone viral before in different forms and while posts about these things does generate so much concern, it looks as if this is rumor. Here’s one article: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/02/momo-challenge-hoax/583825/
So part of digital citizenship is also knowing when to share something you read online and when to do a bit more checking — which is very hard when you think that someone is trying to harm your child.
That said, once something like this is out there, concern grows and grows. And you’re so right – -supporting kids’ understanding of what they should do when they see something amiss is very very important.
The other thing that came up this week was that a horrible person took a small number of kids’ videos, edited them to include a short clip about suicide, and then reposted them in ways that make them look like the original video in a search. That’s just despicable.
Adults don’t just hand any materials to kids without screening them. That’s harder in the wide world of the internet so while we take care to screen as much as we can first, it’s just not possible to prevent clicking around. So I’m so glad that you’re working toward going more of this work in your classroom.
Did you check out any of the Common Sense curriculum materials to see if any of the primary materials could work for your kiddos?