DISTRICT 911 ‘DID YOU KNOW?’ Today, schools are not just responsible for teaching basic academic skills, they are also responsible for teaching our students social skills: “Ignore bullies and tell an adult if you feel threatened,” “Don’t talk to strangers,” “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
We are all familiar with those phrases and use them regularly on a day to day basis. But when was the last time (or was there a time) you visited with your children about how to use good manners when posting comments on Facebook, or texting? When was the last time you discussed with your children what they should do if someone is harassing them online or wants to meet them in person?
These are the new citizenship skills for our children. We should not stop teaching them how to say “please” and “thank you,” and bullies still exist in our face to face world, but it is just as important that we understand and treat online safety and digital citizenship with the same attention.
Did you know that children as young as 6 years of age are joining in social networks and conversing with other kids through online gaming networks? The approach by schools to ban and block social media sites is not adequate today. It is similar to telling children, to go outside and play but stay off the monkey bars and don’t talk to strangers.
Digital Citizenship is a new concept that all technology users, not just young people, need to understand. It’s about the appropriate use of technology. It is a way to prepare users for a society full of technology.
The district will continue to develop and improve what we teach to our students to keep them safe and knowledgeable as they access technology in their day to day lives. Take time in your home to have family discussion about these issues too.
- Bruce Novak Superintendent, District 911 Schools