Common Sense Media Leads Statewide Participation and Local Celebrations on New York Digital Citizenship Day

Educators across the state will use Common Sense Media's free digital literacy and citizenship curriculum to teach lessons on thinking critically, behaving safely, and acting responsibly online
For immediate release
Monday, October 1, 2012

New York City – On October 2, Common Sense Media, the national nonprofit dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, will partner with lawmakers, educators, and advocates for New York Digital Citizenship Day, a statewide initiative to teach kids to be responsible and safe in the digital world.

Educators across the state will use Common Sense Media's free digital literacy and citizenship curriculum to teach lessons on thinking critically, behaving safely, and acting responsibly online. In New York City, the day will launch with a press event and classroom visit at West Side Collaborative Middle School featuring Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, New York City Department of Education, and Councilmember Robert Jackson, chair of the New York City Council Education Committee. Cameras are welcome at the event, which begins at 8:00 a.m.

"Our students are tech savvy, and we want to make sure they make informed decisions and behave properly online," Chancellor Walcott said. "I applaud Common Sense Media for hosting Digital Citizenship Day to help our students make the most of technology's potential to inspire and enrich their education."

"With technology rapidly transforming how we communicate, see each other and others, our youth are at the helm of all of today's digital innovations," said Councilmember Jackson. "This can be both exciting and daunting as young people walk the thin line between the prospect of unbridled freedom of digital expression and responsible behavior. A click of a button can change a young person's life forever - all too often for the worse. Speaker Quinn and my colleagues are to be applauded for responding to this trend by developing the Digital Citizenship program. In partnering with Common Sense Media, the City Council is insuring that our students receive the right tools to navigate their virtual world safely and responsively."

Also attending the morning press event will be Mike Lorion, general manager of education at Common Sense Media, and principals and teachers from two Connected Learning Schools. Lorion will announce the findings of a recent Common Sense Media study that shows 90 percent of teachers believe digital citizenship skills are critically important for their students, but 55 percent of teachers say their students' knowledge about how to engage safely and responsibly with technology is fair to poor.

"New York Digital Citizenship Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the need for digital literacy and citizenship education in every school in New York and across the country," said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. "As our recent study found, most teachers believe learning to be a good digital citizen is central to our children's success in the 21st century. We applaud the many stakeholders who have come together for this initiative with the goal of preparing kids to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly."

New York Digital Citizenship Day will also feature an engaging town hall at LaGuardia High School cohosted by Common Sense Media and MTV and moderated by Sway Calloway, executive producer of MTV News. Chancellor Walcott will open the evening event, which will include live performances and panel discussions with teens about the challenges and opportunities of growing up in the digital world. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and attendees can register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ny-digital-citizenship-day-tickets-4160799062.

Digital Citizenship Day is a continuation of New York's demonstrated commitment to digital literacy and citizenship education. So far more than 2100 schools across the state work with Common Sense Media's free K-12 digital literacy and citizenship curriculum, and last spring, New York schools pilot tested Digital Passport™, an award-winning web-based platform from Common Sense Media that teaches elementary students the basics of digital life.

In addition to the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Council, and MTV's A Thin Line, Digital Citizenship Day is also supported by the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE), New York State Federation of School Administrators (NYSFSA), School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS), HIVE New York, and edmodo. To attend the press event, please RSVP to Crista Sumanik at csumanik@commonsense.org or 415-806-5184.

About Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: www.commonsense.org.

Press Contacts:

Crista Sumanik
csumanik@commonsense.org
Office: 415-553-6780
Cell: 415-806-5184

Julia Plonowski
jplonowski@commonsense.org
Office: 415-553-6728