Why Digital Citizenship Lessons Really Do Matter

I just wrapped up a Digital Citizenship lesson late last week, and man was it a good one!

Using lesson plans from Common Sense Education, I was able to lead two related lessons with ease- one about cyberbullying, and another about hate speech. The topic proved to be controversial, yet it sparked some incredible insight as expressed by my students. I want to share a single exchange between myself and student to get my point across in the blog post- that digital citizenship lessons really do matter.

We were talking about bullying online, which led to talk about bullying in person and fighting. A girl said "isn't it true that some people just need to be smacked sometimes?" I teach at an ALC, so I wasn't too shaken by this question- I've heard worse. The question sparked a great conversation about being the bigger person, taking the higher road and the responsibility each person has to rid this planet of hate and violence. The important thing to note is the fact that a digital citizenship lesson sparked a conversation about real life citizenship- a conversation that would not have happened otherwise. I should add that the same student who asked the "smacking" question later said she understood the error of her ways and was, I quote: "a changed girl". Powerful stuff, eh?

The moral of this story is: digital citizenship matters. It cultivates good citizenship, both online and in real life. All schools should be teaching these lessons anyway, and the materials from Common Sense Education, or any other digital citizenship curriculum provide an excellent means of doing this.

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