Browse all articles

Making Digital Citizenship a Key Component of Back-to-School Time

This back-to-school season, with your help we can provide young people with the digital literacy and citizenship skills they need to thrive in today’s world.

Students across California are returning to school. It's the time of year to think about school supplies, getting class schedules, and learning about the new teacher.

As more and more students use technology during the school day, it's also time to think about how we can best make sure our students know how to use the internet in a safe, ethical, and responsible way. That's why we've worked with California Assemblymember Ed Chau to introduce a resolution, ACR 203, to declare October 16–22 Digital Citizenship Week.

The goal of Digital Citizenship Week is to raise awareness about the importance of digital citizenship as a set of defined, teachable skills for kids in the 21st century. We believe parents, educators, students, and lawmakers play a role in making sure children learn how to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.

Education technology has great potential to help students by enhancing what they learn in the classroom, providing new ways to express themselves, and exposing them to new career paths. Cyberbullying, privacy, safety, sexting, and other potential problems can harm children and create challenges for our schools.

According to the Common Sense report, Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance, half of teens and over one-quarter of parents feel they're addicted to their mobile devices. A quarter of our kids experience cyberbullying. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens found that nearly one-half of teens interfere with their own learning by multitasking with social media while doing their homework. And 40 percent of college admissions officers look at online profiles.

Make no mistake: What our kids do online can have lifelong consequences.

But thankfully a strong digital citizenship study can help protect students while building skills around critical thinking, ethical discussion, and decision making. It's a way to give students and educators important tools required to succeed in the 21st-century school environment. We believe our kids need to be empowered to use technology safely, responsibly, and effectively to avoid the pitfalls.

Digital Citizenship Week will be held simultaneously with National Bullying Prevention Month, Connected Educator Month, and National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In addition to supporting Digital Citizenship Week in California and ACR 203, we hope all teachers will join our colleagues at Common Sense Education by taking the Digital Citizenship Pledge to help their students learn to use technology safely, responsibly, and effectively. As the pledge notes, together we can provide young people with the digital literacy and citizenship skills they need to thrive in today's world.

Interested in learning more about our advocacy efforts around digital citizenship and media literacy? Join our efforts -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!

Kids Action