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Teaching Digital Citizenship Using Common Sense Media

Teaching Digital Citizenship using Common Sense Media at Carson Elementary STEAM Magnet


The social skills children need to be online are just as important as face-to-face skills.  With Carson’s laptop take home program, LOGO (Learning on the Go), it is more important than ever to teach our students to be safe and responsible online.  As part of this initiative, teachers at Carson have taught lessons and met goals to be recognized as Common Sense Educators. In addition because of their dedication, Carson Elementary STEAM Magnet is working to become recognized as a Common Sense School.  

As elementary teachers, we are charged not just with teaching academics, but teaching social skills as well. "Ignore bullies and tell an adult if you feel threatened," "Don't talk to strangers," "Treat people the way you want to be treated." You're probably familiar with phrases similar to these. Young children are still learning the norms of social behavior and how to handle strangers.

However, here are Carson, we are now talking to our students about how to use good manners when online and leaving a comment on a blog post or other social media types? When was the last time you and your students discussed what to do if someone is harassing you online or wants to meet you in person?

These are the new social skills for our students.  While we won’t stop teaching children how to say "please" and "thank you," and bullies still exist in the face-to-face world, it is vital that we treat online safety and digital citizenship with the same amount of seriousness and attention. Students as young as 6 are joining social networks and conversing with other kids through online gaming and networks built around their favorite TV shows and movies as well as through products they see on TV.

This year, our teachers spent at least a month reviewing digital citizenship and internet safety with many of the classes. They completed a series of lessons and were assessed on their understanding of the material. Lessons vary by grade level and continue to grow as students age so that their needs are being met and they are receiving the appropriate lessons at the appropriate time.  The lessons taught fall under a range of topics: self image and identity, communication, digital footprint, cyberbullying,information literacy, cyberbullying, privacy, creative credit and copyright. The goal is that all students leaving Carson STEAM Magnet through the use of Common Sense Media lessons have a foundation and understand the importance of being their best online.

Lesson Resources