EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Resources for 21st Century Teaching and Learning

EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Archives for SEL

Teaching Digital Citizenship in 2017-18

We wanted to share a couple of noteworthy resources for the new school year. 

Common Sense Media has created a guide for all teachers: Digital Citizenship & Social and Emotional Learning. The guide contains a set of digital dilemmas that students may face at some point in their lives. Sample scenarios, such as the one below, are bundled with discussion questions, digital tools and extension lesson resources.

Erin was home sick from school watching a movie when she looked down at her phone and saw her screen filled with text messages written in capital letters and punctuated with exclamation points. “I HATE YOU!!!

Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning

Each discussion question will get students’ thinking and talking about character. Resources within the guide include digital citizenship lesson plans and suggested digital tools for building strengths –  like empathy and perseverance. Extension resources include digital citizenship lesson links that follow CSM’s scope and sequence for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Topics explored include:

  • Social Media & Body Image
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting & Nude Photographs
  • Digital Footprints & Photo Sharing
  • Privacy, Surveillance & Self-Disclosure
  • Sexual Imagery & the Internet
  • Distraction, Multitasking & Time Management
  • Digital Drama
  • Video Games & Violent Content
  • Selfie Culture

Digital citizenship continues to be the fastest changing subject we teach and we appreciate having quality/timely resources to share with our teachers. 

Google has introduced Be Internet Awesome. We had the good fortune to be invited to Google on August 14 to join a team of Googlers and Google Certified Innovators to explore the Be Internet Awesome program and to participate in panel and group discussions on the critical need to be teaching digital citizenship skills –  including media literacy (i.e. “Don’t Fall for Fake”)  – in the 2017-18 school year. As you can see from the video below, the importance of including parents in the conversations is central.

At the heart of the Be Internet Awesome curriculum is Interland, a “playful browser-based game, intended for grades 3-6,  that makes learning about digital safety interactive and fun.” 

Be Internet Awesome - Interland

Award-winning YA author John Green, has even joined the Google team and recorded messages for the Be Internet Awesome Challenge, a video series aimed at igniting conversations in the classroom and at home too on what it means to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online; in other words, how to #BeInternetAwesome. 

The Global Digital Citizenship Foundation is also promoting John Green’s Be Internet Awesome Challenge. The program has also gained recognition from The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) by awarding #BeInternetAwesome with their Seal of Alignment for Readiness for the 2016 ISTE NETS.

We look forward to showcasing how our teachers and school’s are engaging in impactful discussions stemming from these two resources.

Defining Bullying and Cyberbullying

“Isn’t ‘cyberbullying’ just another form of ‘bullying’? Why label it as a separate issue?”

We have been asked this question a number of times. And, yes, we agree that cyberbullying is a form of bullying. Ideally, there would not be a need to add “cyber” in front of “bullying.” However, based on regional, community and school events we have attended in the past few years regarding “cyberbullying,” we believe it is important to continue to make the distinction. While anonymity is difficult in a physical setting, typically online, students falsely assume they can remain anonymous and therefore will not be held accountable for anything they post/upload. For this reason something that perhaps would have never been an issue face-to-face, becomes one. Images or video are often altered using editing tools and then uploaded to YouTube, spreading the reach far beyond school hours and school grounds. 

With the ever-increasing availability of new social media apps and options, our students need explicit instruction on the safe, responsible, and ethical use of technology, both within and beyond the school day. In the short time EGUSD has been a Google Apps for Education/G Suite district, the teaching of digital citizenship has been steadily shifting from a stand-alone topic, often taught in a computer lab or during advisory period, to an integral part of the core curriculum. Across grade levels and subject areas, as students connect for online discussions and collaborative projects, teachers make use of teachable moments to address, for instance, a mean-spirited or mocking comment towards another student’s contribution – and in the process, possibly prevent an online incident from escalating into a face-to-face confrontation. More often than not, when a student is the target of cyberbullying (via texting, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, etc.), he or she is also bullied before, during, and/or after the school day. 

Below are some cyberbullying tactics (from Internet Safety 101: Cyberbullying) commonly used on social media.

Cyberbullying Tactics 

  • Cyberstalking: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages, which may include threats
  • Cyberthreats: Remarks on the Internet threatening or implying violent behavior, displaying suicidal tendencies
  • Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online group
  • Flaming: Online fights where scornful and offensive messages are posted on websites, forums, or blogs
  • Gossip: Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances
  • Harassment: Repeatedly posting or sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
  • Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s e-mail or other online account and sending messages that will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his or her relationship with others
  • Outing and Trickery: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online

Whether a bullying incident happens in the cafeteria or online, the damage to a student’s well-being and the negative impact on the school culture can have far-reaching consequences. We appreciate that many of our favorite go-to resources on bullying, such as, also recognize both the differences and the connecting threads between bullying and cyberbullying.

We can not stress enough the importance and benefits of students, staff, and families coming together to confront all forms of bullying. In addition to student-led initiatives, school-wide campaigns, and teacher-guided discussions specifically targeting bullying/cyberbullying, we also value the power of story to change hearts, minds and behaviors. A movie, a book, or a YouTube video that introduces empathy and compassion can serve as an antidote to bullying and can often resonate with students far beyond the impact of a structured lesson. Stories from a school cafeteria or soccer field demonstrate in very real ways the difference a small group can make when they choose to use their school sites and/or social media to promote positivity and kindness.


Yes, cyberbullying is different from bullying, yet the two are interrelated, often inseparable, and continue to be equally serious issues. We are constantly on the lookout for resources to empower students to recognize and to speak out against both.

We welcome any resources you might recommend adding to our website. Please let us know by leaving a comment.

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