Teaching students about digital citizenship has unique challenges. The questions of what makes a goo internet citizen rely on basic courtesy and mature judgement.
For example, Middle school teacher Diana Graber faced an interesting question. Her 16 year old daughter came into Graber’s office asking advice.
She wasnt asking advice about boys or dating, but about Instagram. Graber was surprised.
“She’d taken this shot of herself and she wanted to know if she should post it,” Graber said.
The picture was pretty typical – a picture of her daughter in a bathing suit. Both considered the angle and what was accomplished with the photo. The photo was posted with some editing, and mother and daughter went on with their day.
“A 16-year-old asking for guidance posting an Instagram — I consider that a major victory,” Graber said. “Kids today know a lot more about technology than their parents do, and we can’t talk at them about this because we don’t get it.”
Knowing what is safe and what is not can be difficult for students who grew up with social media and parents who do not understand it. Like many parents, Graber was once afraid her daughter could get into trouble with the internet and she only vaguely understood cyberbullying or how a post could impact a future job or college application.
Graber went back to college for a master’s degree in media psychology and wrote the curriculum of a three year weekly program called Cyber Civics.