A colleague and I recently used the Common Sense Media “Raising Media Smart Kids” slide show and supporting materials to do a parent information session at a local public library. What I am most impressed by is what a great resource Common Sense Media is. I have been using it to check movie and game ratings for years but now as an educator I use their materials to guide my technology curriculum.
The slide presentation covered etiquette, safety, bullying, copyright – fair use, legal issues and a short clip from an internet safety lesson we do in the schools. There was a great conversation among participants which really went to the heart of how we deal with technology use with our youngest students. I live in a rural area in NH and some parents just do not see any benefit to social media and are happy to just keep their kids lives free of technology figuring that by the time their children get their hands on it, they will know how to deal with all the complexities involved in being a responsible digital citizen. Others felt that elementary age children are too young to be using computers, and there were some who are very anxious about their young children going online and being exposed to unregulated potentially frightening content.
Regardless of what family rules there are, as an educator I feel it is my responsibility to teach students and their parents how to use technology tools ethically, safely and for their overall benefit. As a matter of fact, one thing I kept stressing is how important modeling is! We all know this but do we think about it in terms of how our children see us using technology? Parents can’t model if they themselves don’t know how to properly give credit (cite) to authors of web content, or what the proper protocol is for sharing documents etc… Just like everything else, we can teach students how to behave, take turns, use technology responsibly, and more. But if it is not reinforced at home our lessons are short lived.
Putting together this presentation was really easy thanks to Common Sense Media’s editable slide show and supporting materials that I would encourage more library media specialists to engage with our broader communities and get this discussion going. And have fun!