SiteofWeek041410Common Sense Media has announced a comprehensive digital literacy and citizenship initiative that aims to provide educators, parents, and kids with the tools necessary to raise a generation of responsible, smart, and safe digital citizens. The initiative has three key components: a school-based curriculum for grades 5-8; a public awareness and education campaign, which includes PSAs and other outreach with partners; and an aggressive public policy strategy designed to bring funding to digital literacy, teacher training, curriculum development, and distribution to schools nationwide. Each component of the plan is designed to educate, protect, and empower kids to make responsible, respectful, and safe choices in today’s digital world.

“Technology is already at the center of our kids’ lives whether it’s for education, play, or socializing,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “We have a responsibility to educate kids to become smart digital citizens.”

The curriculum component, which launched as part of a pilot program in San Francisco and Omaha, Neb., schools and will roll out fully this fall, teaches kids to think critically and make informed choices about how they live and treat others in today’s digital media world. It covers everything from privacy and sexting to cyber bullying and self-expression, and uses both interactive lessons and real-life stories from kids to get them engaged in the digital ethics discussion.

Common Sense Media’s Parent Media Education Program already provides educators and parents with hands-on guidance about the media and technology issues in their kids’ lives. The free program is currently used in more than 5,000 K-12 schools throughout the country and internationally. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators

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Jeff Festa