Digital Citizenship Week is right around the corner—this year, it’s from October 18th to the 22nd! This event, held every year by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, encourages teachers and families to teach children how to navigate and stay safe using digital resources like the Internet.
The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) lists nine skills children need to learn to become good digital citizens:
- Digital Access
- Digital Commerce
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Communication
- Digital Etiquette
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities
- Digital Health and Wellness
- Digital Law
- Digital Security
To help your family celebrate Digital Citizenship Week, we’ve put together a list of nine lessons and activities you can use to teach these nine parts of digital citizenship. Any step you can take to help your child become knowledgeable digital citizens will be valuable to them for their whole life!
Digital access includes your child’s ability to participate with technology and learn digital skills like coding or using a search engine. Scratch Jr is an excellent website for teaching kids basic coding skills in a fun way—and it’s free!
Because digital commerce is all about the skills of buying and selling things online, it can be hard to figure out how this applies to an elementary school-aged child. But even if they are not buying items themselves, they will most likely see advertisements every time they use the Internet.
This video from Common Sense Media can help children recognize ads and be smart about interpreting them.
Digital literacy means teaching children how to find helpful digital resources online, as well as learning computer skills like typing. This interactive game from the Palm Beach County Library System can help little ones learn how to use a mouse.
Digital communication is any kind of online interaction with another person, like sending a text message or playing a multiplayer game with family. We’ll go over staying safe online later, but to practice communicating with people your child knows in real life, try drafting and sending a nice email or text message for a loved one together.
Digital etiquette means learning to treat everyone we know online with respect and avoiding cyberbullying. It can also include helping kids spot the warning signs that they or someone they know is being cyberbullied.
This video from the nonprofit Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation is a great way to help your children learn what cyberbullying is and what to do if they are being bullied.
Digital Rights and Responsibilities
This aspect of digital citizenship involves teaching children about the duties they share with others while using online media. It also lets children know that everything they do online has an impact—often for many years.
Keep this helpful infographic in mind when teaching children about their impact—or “digital footprint”—online. You could share a new tip every day to keep their digital rights and responsibilities fresh on your family’s mind.
Digital Health and Wellness
You can think of digital health and wellness as anything that helps your kids stay healthy while using digital tools. This could include setting personal screen time limits or practicing time management while on the Internet.
Time management can enrich every part of your child’s life, and it’s a great skill to learn for healthy online habits. Use this age-by-age guide from Scholastic to practice time management skills with your family.
Digital law is following any rules set for a child while using digital media. To make this digital citizenship element a part of your child’s life, make a list of family guidelines together.
Here are a few examples of helpful digital media rules for family:
- Finish all homework before playing video games
- Never talk to someone online that you don’t know in real life
- Keep all personal information to yourself
Digital security teaches kids how to be safe on the Internet by protecting themselves from viruses and staying away from strangers. For teenagers, this could also include staying safe on social media.
To introduce digital safety to your child, watch this talk from Common Sense Media on five quick Internet safety tips. Then. have a discussion. Ask about your child’s thoughts and talk together about how you can practice safe Internet habits as a family.