Technology Integration ToSA

How should we teach digital citizenship and responsibility with younger students?

As a K-5 teacher, I'm faced with the challenge of how to teach digital citizenship and responsibility with younger students.  The problem is that children under the age of 13 are not technically allowed to have their own email accounts and therefore are supposedly excluded from participating on social networking sites.  However, many of them, I find, do anyway!  Isn't this the best time to be tallking about it? How should we address this?  What kinds of discussions should we be having?

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Cortez William

Posted on 5/19/19 3:55:23 PM Permalink

​I think we will be having a hard time to teach digital citizenship and responsibility with younger students because from the psychological point of view their maturity level is not that mature enough. We need the cooperation of parents, guardians, teachers and school staff to kindle the issue.

S Luke

Posted on 7/4/17 4:18:13 AM Permalink

While I certainly don't have the answers, I believe a piece of this responsibility begins with teachers and school personnel. Responsible social media usage and digital citizenship should be a goal of the faculty for school systems. It should begin with us as leaders in our own families and circles. If faculty and staff can model good online behavior and speak about it from a personal perspective with other parents and in community settings, maybe we begin to create awareness and shift the tide that has become a problem for children and adults.

Jeanne Roy

Posted on 11/5/15 7:06:34 PM Permalink

New to this discussion forum. Great resources that I will add to my "check it out" folder.

I'm a business ed teacher that also teaches some entry-level tech/application classes. The need for digital citizenship is real, but *where* it happens seems to be the issue. My applications class is an elective, so all I can do is reach students here and in my other (accounting) classes. I've built a digital citizenship component into my apps class (complete with badges and the help of my peers here), but I'm finding the students (and faculty) think they know it all. I'm looking for anyone who has worked to "spin" digital citizenship from a business aspect. My thought was that my high school students might relate better to the "money" aspect!

Judy Durkin

Posted on 6/22/15 2:16:47 AM Permalink

I use the Common Sense curriculum ( ) in my classes and I think it has made a difference. Of course, I have an advantage because I get the students when they are in 3rd grade and have them for every year after and young minds are very impressionable. There are some great lessons and online scenario explorations for all grades, K-12

Anna Seo

Posted on 6/22/15 2:01:52 AM Permalink

Here's one more:

Anna Seo

Posted on 6/22/15 1:59:47 AM Permalink

Hope this helps:

sandro c mendes

Posted on 8/16/14 11:15:35 PM Permalink

Should be the trend for the not so distant future, anyone can be integrated digitally speaking, has the age you have. What we would need for greater protection for children would be safe mechanisms and the old and welcome education of father and mother (which is fading). We are moving towards that

Colin Byers

Posted on 5/1/14 10:16:50 PM Permalink

I think it's important to reach students at a very young age. The concepts of digital citizenship are still very much relevant to these children. Whether it be themselves, older siblings or parents who are using electronic devices. I believe that students, even at a young age can learn how to contribute to a greater good via the internet or with internet tools. They don't necessarily need to be using social media platforms to understand the impact of digital citizenship issues (like bulling, or security or sharing resources).

ng sw

Posted on 10/7/13 9:25:59 AM Permalink

I think that having an e-mail account at the age of 13 is okay. Having it at the age of 12 is obviously no problem. We can't stop kids from having internet access anyway. We can teach them how to use their internet privileges wisely. Parental and close educator guidance is a must in preventing them from abusing the use of their e-mail or the internet.

Judy Durkin

Posted on 7/26/12 2:09:48 PM Permalink

I always tell my students that for every ten minutes they waste texting and tweeting and checking facebook, they should take a pencil and paper and DRAW what they have experienced - no words - just images. If they turn in drawings that are obviously related to their musings online, I collect them in a box and pull out random drawings every Friday for a warm-up discussion. The kids love it. All anonymous. And it often shows how trivial teenage social networking can be!! She said, he said, love, heartbreak, fashion... in the grand scheme of things?

Elizabeth Garrison

Posted on 7/26/12 11:59:09 PM Permalink

I am using this. What a great idea!

Helen Foster

Posted on 7/21/13 5:10:01 PM Permalink

What a great way to get them to be creative and reflect on experiences.

sandro c mendes

Posted on 8/16/14 11:09:24 PM Permalink

Good idea!

Anna Seo

Posted on 6/22/15 1:57:39 AM Permalink

I love it! What a great idea! Thank you!

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 5:19:07 PM Permalink

In our state, the Washington State Patrol has a team that comes out to the schools and talks the students about online safety I wonder if this happens in other states. I know it is very affective as i have heard that chatter when I go to the various schools at bring up the subject with the different classes.

TJ Fletcher

Posted on 7/25/12 4:50:37 PM Permalink

Dan Armstrong said:

Just know that as a high school teacher I have Zero ability change their citizenship once they get in my room. They have already decided a lot of that and it is very difficult to change.

Dan, you need to give yourself more credit. You have as much ability to affect their decisions as you choose. High school students are still looking for role models...just as much as (if not more than) an elementary or middle school student. Having conversations about the topic and talking about the choices you have made are powerful tools that you have at your disposal. I imagine that you have plenty of students looking up to have the ability to guide them, and you should. Incremental change...incremental change. ;)

Dan Armstrong

Posted on 7/25/12 4:40:25 PM Permalink

Niki D, Great Question. I think for you the best thing you can do is show them real world examples of the results of good digital citizenship and concequences of bad citizenship. Use examples like the Triple Jumper Olympian that was removed from the games. Real world examples are the same way we teach little ones about drugs and other bad actions. If you embed in them the importance of digital citizenship then as they grow their digital learning will grow around that knowledge. Just know that as a high school teacher I have Zero ability change their citizenship once they get in my room. They have already decided a lot of that and it is very difficult to change. There is a whole world of 9-12 teachers wishing they had teachers like you preparing their upcoming student.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 5:15:59 PM Permalink

Actually at a High School level you could have the students do a research paper on the repercusions of online postings. I know in washington state alone there have been many high profile stories in the news about students getting into trouble for what they have done online.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 12:37:07 AM Permalink

I believe part of this educating the parents. I think it is important to have a parent education night if at all possible (and distribute information to the parents in as many other forms as well) about the risks of children in social media. Correct me if I am wrong, but 13 is the age the they can sign a cosent for their own actions. (the online agreement for Facebook for example). Also talking to the parents about the childs ability to intrupret the written text versus the verbal. We as adults have problems with that. Its important that parents have access to their childs social media accounts. There just so many other things that I add to the conversation with parents than I am mentioning here but I think you get the point.

Sara Martin

Posted on 7/24/12 9:58:13 PM Permalink

I have been using Edmodo to get around this problem. Students do no need an email account in order to establish an edmodo account.

I agree that this is an issue, many of my students (grades 5-8) lie about their age when they establish Facebook and other email accounts. With my 7th and 8th graders we use email quite a bit to communicate and I find that students do not know how to email, add attachments, etc and I think it is worth it to spend the time teaching them since the adult working world uses email. In order to get around the age thing I have my students that are not yet 13 establish their gmail accounts at home with their parents help, giving them permission, etc. Fot the students that don't manage to get this done at home I set up a free account for them. Takes time but it is worth the effort. There are so many web 2.0 tools that require an email in order to set up accounts that I find it absolutely necessary for my program. I know you can get student accounts if you are a google school but we are not quite there yet at my district.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/24/12 9:23:38 PM Permalink

In our district we have a discussion tool where the students have code names for the discussions but all comments do not show up until approved by the teacher. This is a great way to teach the younger students about how to post their words properly. This also opens up the discussion about "whats goes online stays online - forever".

We explain too that what ever they post in our discussions thier parents have the ability to see.

Mali Bickley

Posted on 7/24/12 7:01:16 PM Permalink

I know what you mean Nicole. I have my class using a variety of social networking tools like Edmodo. Helps them practice on task talk while using social networking tools while being able to be monitored by me. They have their own accounts, but I monitor closely and parents are also aware step by step of what we are doing. We also do a lot of talking about appropriate on line behaviour and consequences.

Great point for discussions.