We now live in a digital world and our children are having to make choices that we as adults may not be sure of ourselves. Digital devices are becoming more powerful and what they are able to do is continually impacting our world in positive, and negative, ways. At the junior campus we are now in the second year of a Bring Your Own Device with Year 5 and 6, so talking about the way we support our children in a digital world is extremely important.
Within ICT lessons we use technology to help us learn to control robots, make videos, design and print 3D objects, code video games and record information, and one of the main goals of these lessons to develop students’ ability to use technology as a tool to learn in all subject areas. Coding creates logic and reasoning, Robotics builds problem solving, Videography involves creativity and all lessons require perseverance and collaboration, which are important attributes of our Aide Memoir.
Digital Citizenship is the first unit for all students from Year 1 to Year 6 and what we talk about in these lessons is referred back to throughout the year with reference to the Aide Memoir. Teachers take time to look through students’ computers to make sure that they are making healthy digital choices with the time they spend online and the content that they are viewing, but in order to develop the whole student it is important that these discussions happen at home. We may use the term Digital Citizenship and refer to the way students interact online, but we should really just be thinking about Citizenship as there should not really be any difference to the way that we interact online to the way that we interact in real life. In class we refer to the ‘Grandma Rule’, which in short means if you are not happy for your Grandma to see what you post or read or watch or send or share online, then do you think that you should share it?
As a parent there are many things that you can do to help support your student in their digital journey. Some people believe that removal of technology is a solution, but I feel that this just postpones their use of technology and might make them want to explore technology without your knowledge, which could lead to your child making bad choices. The key to helping your child becoming positive digital citizens is in creating an open dialogue between children and parents, discussing online interactions, creating a set of digital rules that are for the whole family and not just for children.
We use the Common Sense Media website within lessons and it has three main parts, Students, Teachers and Parents, which tailors the content to that audience. If you are to look at this website, it can give you a lot of pointers about using technology in the home and even has reviews and ratings of different games and films that your child might want to watch or play.
Using technology in a shared environment, such as the lounge or at the kitchen table, means that if your child has a question you are there to answer it and you can see how much time they are spending online. Allowing children to use devices in a bedroom without parental supervision is not recommended as you are unable to see what they are doing, what they are viewing and how much time they are spending online.
An important message that we share in class it to take time to turn off. Just because we now have the ability to be connected it does not mean that we should always connected and this applies to parents as well as students. As a family decide on times or places where you will be technology free like during family meals or Sunday mornings – your child is more likely to develop healthy digital habits if you are demonstrating healthy digital habits.
If you have any questions about your child and their digital citizenship please send me an email and I would be happy to sit down and talk to you further about this important issue.
Mr Luke Dyer, ICT & DT Leader
Common Sense Media
Link to the presentation