Knowing how to write a comment that is appropriate for different online settings is a critical literacy skill for 21st Century children (and also for many of their parents). Too often young comment writers end up fervently wishing they had thought a bit more about what they posted.
Educators and parents need to pay serious attention to the commenting lives of kids. While the World Wide Web and social media offer young children, pre-adolescents, and teens nearly unlimited opportunities to comment and express their opinions, problems occur when young people do not possess the impulse control skills for such unrestricted access.
Children of all ages also need practice writing and responding to comments — an activity that can easily be incorporated into writing, language arts instruction, and yes, dinner table conversation.
To help adults examine issues and consider how to approach the topic at school and at home, check out the two posts below.
This week I checked one of my online newspapers, The Watertown Daily Times (New York), I was more than delighted to see this thoughtful and comprehensive policy posted at the end of each article. I’m told the paper’s policy has been around for some time, but since I rarely leave comments, or even read them, I’ve missed this set of rules.
Consider copying or rephrasing this policy for home and school. Posting the rules or your rewritten edition in places where family members use digital devices can remind everyone to think a bit before responding and writing.