As our world becomes increasingly connected, the basic elements of digital citizenship will prove critical for students’ continued success

Could digital citizenship be the most important pandemic lesson?


As our world becomes increasingly connected, the basic elements of digital citizenship will prove critical for students’ continued success

Practicing good digital citizenship should include a pathway of communication and online community rules to build a safe place for everyone involved. On our free Kids Club Minecraft server, we have fluid rules to allow kids to learn and grow without fearing punishment for making mistakes. While we occasionally have to ban a child for 24 hours for inappropriate behavior, this usually only happens with more extreme cases when a child breaks the rules repeatedly and with malicious intent. In those cases, we are also in conversation with the child’s caregiver and provide additional tips for helping the child re-enter the community. We see it more as a learning opportunity to teach young people to make good choices and be respectable online citizens.

School librarians can also assist with teaching digital citizenship. In teaching early literacy, librarians may encourage caregivers to talk through work-specific tasks with their children and explain the uses for a device. They can discuss the importance of copyright protection and incorporate technology-related books into their storytimes. 

There are several resources online that teach children digital citizenship. Common Sense Media, for example, provides free digital citizenship courses for grades K-12. There are also digital citizen apps, such as Easy Tech by Learning.com, that aim to teach kids basic uses, best practices, and safety risks online, or a unit by BrainPOP that instructs kids on online best practices through fun activities, quizzes, and games. Cyberwise also offers a free digital course for parents and educators, as well as resources and articles. 

The resources are out there, and the demand is increasing as we become more connected. Our youth need to be supported by schools, parents, and peers to develop the necessary skills to survive and thrive online. It’s up to us all to work together to prepare our children for the digital world. 

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.