Natural Born Digital Citizens? (part 2)

Digital Citizenship and Children, part 2

My wife shared an interesting article with me over the weekend from Business Insider titled, “Science says parents of unsuccessful kids could have these 9 things in common.” Linked to the end of it was the inverse article: Science says parents of successful kids have these 13 things in common.

Two of the things that parents do wrong, according to the first article, are of interest to our class. The first is allowing “screen time” too young. The second is parents using their cellphones around their kids. I am guilty of both. We don’t have TV, so my son doesn’t get to watch much. But one guaranteed way to chill him out if he is having a meltdown is to let him watch “Mahna Mahna,” often on loop. And my wife and I keep our phones constantly on our persons. I compulsively check my email. But my phone also supplies music for our adventures and is my camera, so he has a relationship with it, too.

If, as Science tells us, early screen time and parent cellphone use are counter-indicators for children’s success, how do we teach our children good digital social skills? If modeling and practice are both discouraged, what is left to do? This is also interesting for our roles as teachers. How we personally engage in our digital citizenship, not just in terms of lessons and planning, in the presence of our students must have an influence.

I teach adults. I find that many of those who are just out of high school or who didn’t finish high school do not have good digital fluency or etiquette. How do we model that for them, if we are trying to be professional by leaving our cellphones at our desks when we teach and pretending not to be socially engaged online?

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