As the world winds down from Safer Internet Day 2018, it’s important to take a look back at the main message of the day and ensure that it is carried forward for the rest of the year. The key focus for 2018 is sharing respect through responsible and positive digital citizenship.
For too many, there is a sense that you can say or do whatever you like when online. People are hiding behind a username, which gives them the courage to behave in a way that they wouldn’t do in the ‘real world’. The problem is, the distinction between the digital landscape and the so-called ‘real world’ is becoming blurred. What is said and done online has a tangible impact on flesh and bone.
This is why it’s essential that children learn how to interact online and how to take responsibility for those interactions. There are so many lessons that can be taught both at home and in the school classroom.
Teach them to be accepting of what is different to them
This lesson isn’t really specific to the online world and good digital citizenship. However, it has become even more important now that we live in a world where we have instant access to people from other countries, cultures and ways of life. We also have constant access to real-time news feeds.
Teach them to verify what they see online
Fake news – it’s a real thing. The spread of information has never been easier than it is today, but with that comes the danger of spreading misinformation, lies and unverified facts. Teaching children about the need to check their sources isn’t just a good idea for their school projects, it’s an essential lesson for life these days.
Teach them stranger danger
The global village that now exists online is filled with the same potential threats as the real world. The modern-day version of not taking sweets from a stranger is to not accept friend requests from someone you don’t know.
Social media is part of life now, and children – especially teenagers – can’t get enough of it. However, the dangers of letting them loose on the likes of Facebook or Snap without teaching them about the potential threats is very real.
Teach them to be confident with technology
Now that you’ve told your students about the potential dangers, it’s also important to show them how to use the Internet and technology with confidence. It’s no good teaching kids today to distrust smartphones and social media because they are a massive part of the way we live.
Thankfully, there is a way to give them both the freedom to learn and a safe environment. At school and at home, Mobile Guardian, a powerful, multi-OS mobile device management (MDM) solution allows schools and parents to manage and monitor how all mobile devices are being used. Access to certain websites or social media apps can be controlled or blocked. A secure online environment can be created for children that gives them the chance to learn and understand importance of their digital citizenship.
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