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What You Need to Know: Policymakers Look at Digital Citizenship

Common Sense Kids Action is working to develop legislation that promotes quality digital citizenship policies for all kids.

Momentum is growing behind the call for a legislative solution to digital citizenship. States such as Utah, Maine, and Indiana have adopted digital citizenship policies within existing state education programs, and this year Washington state Governor Jay Inslee adopted a policy that calls on the state 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.

Kids have never had as much access to the internet and mobile technologies at home and at school as they do today. While technology has great promise for learning, kids don't always make sound judgments when navigating the digital world. School administrators and educators are now faced with challenges, such as screen time issues, privacy, digital footprints, and cyberbullying.

Policymakers around the country are now seeking legislative solutions to help students, educators, and administrators navigate these digital pitfalls, and Common Sense Kids Action is developing a solution. Through partnership with Common Sense Education and like-minded advocacy organizations, such as the National Association of Media Literacy Education and Media Literacy Now, Common Sense Kids Action is developing a comprehensive digital citizenship legislative solution for policymakers to use as a model to implement quality digital citizenship and media literacy training within their states. The legislation is similar to Washington state Senate Bill 6273 and calls for the following three tenets:

· a comprehensive approach organized under the executive;

· the development of best practices and good standards to be developed by an advisory committee composed of parents, educators, administrators, researchers, and advocates;

· and a mandate that districts must develop a digital citizenship and media literacy plan using, but not exclusive to, the good standards and best practices developed by the advisory committee.

Common Sense Kids Action believes in a comprehensive approach to digital citizenship and media literacy legislation that engages thought leaders, educators, parents, and policymakers in an effort to develop the protections necessary for our children to capitalize on the greater opportunities provided by the advancement of technology in the classroom.

Common Sense has been a leading resource for school administrators, educators, and parents interested in learning additional ways to help kids thrive in a world driven by media and technology. We believe good online behavior mimics good offline behavior and that there is no differentiating between the two when it comes to safety, responsibility, and respect.

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

JR Starrett
JR oversees Let's Invest Large in Youth (LILY), a multi state program for Common Sense Kids Action. In this capacity JR works with a team of internal and external stakeholders to identify and introduce state based legislation that will positively impact kids. Prior to joining Common Sense, JR served as a seasoned political operative managing campaign efforts for some of the nation’s most competitive races. JR was recognized as a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2014. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife Morgan. JR is a frequent contributor to Campaigns and Elections Magazine, contributing to the Campaign Insider column.