As the school year comes to a close, we have the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened in the past 10 months. During this school year, we faced unprecedented challenges. We were also granted many opportunities, including the opportunity for students to practice digital citizenship skills in meaningful and impactful ways each and every day. From day one, students were tasked with using digital tools for all aspects of their academic experience. In addition, they depended more heavily on technology to stay connected to friends and family they could no longer see in person. These opportunities allowed students to become more skilled in evaluating news and media, navigating social interactions online, and being mindful of what information they shared in their online communities. They received guidance from their teachers, including instruction on how to be productive, safe, and respectful digital citizens.
As we transition into summer, many students will still find themselves immersed in digital worlds. However, many will not have the monitoring and guidance they received during the school year. Here are a few reminders for students and parents as they begin to enjoy the freedom that summer vacation offers:
- Be mindful of what you share and with whom you share it- Whether it be posting on Instagram, Tik Tok, or any new social media platform that pops up, it is essential that students think before they share. They should never share personally identifiable information and should be mindful of how their words and messages will affect the people viewing them.
- Be kind and respectful to others online- Words matter. Be kind.
- Avoid digital drama- Due to the 24/7 nature of digital communication, many students find that the end of the school year does not mean an end to the digital drama that unfolded during the year. Students should be mindful about engaging in digital drama and involve adults, when necessary, to help them resolve issues before they escalate. Parents should help their children set boundaries around their use of devices and how they engage with others online.
- Think critically about what you see and read- During the school year, teachers are constantly helping students develop the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate information and online sources. The need for these critical thinking skills does not end with the onset of summer break. Students should continue to view information online through a critical lens and not believe everything they see and hear.
For additional information about how to help your children navigate the digital world, please explore the following resources: