Civil behavior is a fundamental building block of our democracy, and throughout our history, both children and adults have strived — and occasionally struggled — to demonstrate it through their behavior. In our 21st Century connected world, civility has become even more difficult for many people to understand and attain because certain aspects of digital life can thwart many individual’s good intentions.
If you are seeking useful information about civility to share in your school or community, check out How to Teach Civility to Kids, over at wikiHow. The article is, in essence, a tutorial, explaining what adults should do to encourage young people to grow into civil and kind individuals, and it offers specific ideas for conversations and activities.
Parents and teachers spend an enormous amount of their time and energy focusing with children on why it’s important to become civil individuals and emphasizing that these principles are the same either online or off. Yet educators and adults need continuing support and guidance as they go about the work of promoting and upholding civility. Their challenges are encouraging kids to learn how to be respectful and how to disagree respectfully and demonstrating to children the importance of being polite, even when they don’t feel like it. Encouraging children to assist others and be kind anytime ensures that children understand much more about what it means to be civil. The wikiHow article offers information and help. Continue reading “Teaching Civility to Kids? Excellent Resource @ WikiHow”→
After spending years teaching digital citizenship and civility in the K-12 world, I’ve now come to the conclusion that we parents and teachers should, in the midst of teaching children, stress that there is never privacy online. Yes, I know that we already teach this — or try to — in most schools and homes, but election 2016, accompanied by the theft and sharing of emails and other connected world materials, is scary. It has proven that everyone can be hurt by what they say online — even when what is said is not intended to generate hurtfulness.
Our confidential comments may differ from what we say in public. When our candid thoughts become widely available — yes, through hacking, but with kids, it’s through intentional sharing, gossip, or the unintentional mistakes that kids make — words can often be interpreted negatively. Moreover, at least for the time being, we live in a world where stealing a public figure’s private communications and making them public appears to be OK.
Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.
On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name-calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.
Learning to comment well, avoid chatter, and identify made-up news and comments — before sharing or forwarding them — is a critical 21st Century literacy skill.
Each week I receive a terrific email on fact checking, sent from the Poynter Institute, an independent group that promotes excellent and innovative journalism in our 21st Century democracy. Poynter’s weekly email message contains all sorts of interesting tidbits, quotes, and information that can help people learn more about information accuracy.
Social media and the digital tools that we use every day have transported us into a strange new era. As we use these tools to work and play we tacitly allow them to collect incredible amounts of our personal information — content that documents our lives, likes, loves, and dislikes — and we become sitting ducks for sham news and fraudulent information. Those who possess our information, good guys or bad, can use impersonal algorithms to assess and use our data. Read my post about using Duck, Duck Go.
Are you planning to purchase a new iPhone for a digital kid your family?
If so, check out a recently published article, How to Secure Your Kid’s iPhone, aimed at parents who want to administer and set up controls on the iPhones that their 21st Century children will be using. The piece in PC Magazine is chock full of suggestions, covering topics such as setting up restrictions, making family sharing groups, choosing passwords, preserving privacy, choosing a browser, turning various phone features on (and off) and much, much more.
Written by Eric Griffith, the July 2017 article, which includes plenty of links to other information, is a must-read for any parents who purchase or plans to purchase a new iPhone to give to a young family member.
And after setting up your child’s iPhone, don’t forget that your work is just beginning. c Become a mentor for your child and strike up regular conversations about civility, digital wellness and citizenship.