San Francisco, CA — Common Sense Kids Action announced the launch of an aggressive campaign today to pass digital citizenship legislation in state capitols throughout the country. With kids living in a rapidly changing digital world and in need of the guidance and support to make smart online choices, Common Sense has formed a coalition of like-minded organizations that will advocate for legislation that expands access to digital citizenship instruction in classrooms nationwide. The announcement was made at the Twitter Digital Citizenship Summit, where Common Sense Kids Action founder James. P. Steyer gave a keynote speech and unveiled model legislation.
"Kids have never had as much access to the internet and mobile technologies at home and school as they do today," Steyer said. "School administrators and educators are now faced with challenges such as privacy, digital cheating, and cyberbullying. By teaching kids digital citizenship, we can help them thrive in a world driven by media and technology. Our coalition looks forward to working with policymakers on legislation that fosters collaboration on the best practices of comprehensive digital citizenship and media literacy policies in the country."
The coalition released official model legislation language that it will use to engage policymakers in sponsoring bills in 2017. The model legislation is based on a bill that the state of Washington passed in 2016 -- the nation's first comprehensive digital citizenship and media literacy legislation. The bill calls for the office of the superintendent of public instruction to develop and distribute a list of digital citizenship and media literacy best practices and recommendations to school administrators and uses a state advisory committee that includes researchers, administrators, educators, and others to review digital citizenship and media literacy curriculum and policy.
"I applaud Common Sense's push toward digital citizenship legislation throughout the country," said David Ryan Polgar, co-founder of the Digital Citizenship Summit and head of Trust and Safety at Friendbase. "The template legislation is comprehensive in nature and involves a wide range of groups with expertise on internet safety, digital citizenship, and media literacy issues. We are entering an age where technology and social media are ubiquitous in students' lives, so it behooves us to offer greater support and education to thrive in this new environment."
With young people spending more and more time on mobile devices, digital citizenship has increasingly become a priority for policymakers around the country. Earlier this year in California, the State Legislature declared the week of October 16–22, 2016, as Digital Citizenship Week and announced its support for training and educating teachers and parents to help kids understand and manage digital media. The official resolution states: "This new media literacy should become an integral part of children's education that is woven into the overall curriculum across grade levels, starting as early as kindergarten."
In the coming months, the coalition will announce the states in which it plans to focus its advocacy efforts in 2017. Coalition members include the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), Media Literacy Now, and the Digital Citizenship Institute.
More information about the campaign and legislation can be found in a recent Common Sense Kids Action blog post, "Model Policy for Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy in Public Schools."
About Common Sense Kids Action
The mission of Common Sense Kids Action, the advocacy arm of national nonprofit Common Sense, is to make kids America's top priority. With over 65 million users, more than 300,000 educators, and potential advocates in every home and school across the nation, Common Sense is building a movement dedicated to ensuring that every child can thrive in our rapidly changing world. Common Sense Kids Action fights on behalf of families everywhere -- in our home state of California, in our nation's capital, and in states across the country, where we franchise winning ideas and legislative efforts that help all kids thrive.