Common Sense Education Celebrates a Decade of Leadership in Digital Citizenship, a Global Effort to Prepare Students for Success in the Online World
Digital Citizenship Week, which runs October 17–21, marks the 10-year anniversary since Common Sense Education created the weeklong recognition to help educators address the critical issues children face in a fast-changing world of media and technology.
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17, 2022—Common Sense Education is kicking off Digital Citizenship Week today by celebrating a decade of leadership. Since 2012, Digital Citizenship Week has been an opportunity to engage educators and families on the importance of kids and teens learning essential 21st century skills through Common Sense Education's award-winning and research-backed Digital Citizenship Curriculum. The free, ready-to-teach lessons have been a go-to resource for thousands of educators worldwide to prepare students to navigate their online lives.
The Digital Citizenship Curriculum has been accessed by 1.3 million educators and over 90,000 schools across the U.S. It includes 73 lessons for grades K–12, and student resources are available in Spanish. The resources have also been localized for British English and Welsh to provide teachers in the United Kingdom with relatable resources. The Curriculum was created, and has been continually updated, in collaboration with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The Curriculum has helped schools nationwide address timely topics and prepare students to take ownership of their digital lives in a constantly evolving environment. The original Curriculum launched in 2010, when Facebook was the most popular social media platform and Instagram was still in its infancy. The iPhone had just introduced its first front-facing camera, yet only 35% of Americans owned a smartphone, and in the classrooms, lessons around technology focused on safety issues. But the Curriculum has since evolved along with today's technologies to help young users make the most of their screen time while also knowing how to confront the kinds of digital dilemmas that kids face in today's 24/7 digital world.
"The media and technology landscape has really changed since we created Digital Citizenship Week a decade ago," said Kelly Mendoza, Vice President of Education Programs at Common Sense Education. "Kids today are learning not just how to communicate and connect with others online, but also how to manage their privacy, grapple with addictive designs and media balance, and identify misinformation. Our program teaches both the skills and habits of mind to responsibly navigate the digital world. These are essential life skills they'll carry into adulthood."
"Common Sense Education's Digital Citizenship Curriculum is ever evolving to meet emerging needs and timely challenges born out of the latest research," said Carrie James and Emily Weinstein, researchers at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and co-authors of Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (and Adults Are Missing). "Their newest resources are designed to meet the current demand for social emotional support and for classroom content that addresses the civic dimensions of today's social media landscape."
Beyond the flagship Digital Citizenship Curriculum, Common Sense provides additional lessons on social and emotional learning in digital life, news and media literacy, and the latest Civics in Digital Life lessons. These free lesson plans and activities for grades 8–12 are designed to spark students' sense of civic engagement, especially in digital contexts. Because teens are increasingly exposed to contentious topics online, like the upcoming midterm elections, school shootings in Uvalde and elsewhere, and the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, teachers face the challenge of helping kids understand the content they're consuming online. These new lesson plans give students the tools they need to have more positive and healthy engagements in digital conversations.
"Over the past 10 years, LA Unified's approach to digital citizenship and engaging online has become positive and proactive," said Sophia Mendoza, Director, Instructional Technology Initiative, Los Angeles Unified School District. "This included cultivating a common understanding of empowering digital citizenship practices, creating awareness of digital citizenship implications for college and career preparedness of all learners, and supporting the integration of the Digital Citizenship Curriculum across content areas."
"In every district I've had the pleasure of working in, our partnership with Common Sense Media has been crucial as we've focused on the importance of digital citizenship education in our schools," said Matt Friedman, Superintendent, Ocean City Public Schools. "We're able to encourage staff and students to use their knowledge, skills, and understanding to protect and promote human rights online, such as freedom, privacy, and security."
Educators can find digital citizenship resources for every day of Digital Citizenship Week and a calendar of quick, easy, and fun activities here. Families can also continue these conversations at home with the free resources here.
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org.
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