Krissie Olson, Gateway School’s Technology Integration Specialist, has begun implementing Digital Citizenship lessons into all of our K-8 classes this year. Digital Citizenship addresses the challenges parents and their children face in the digital age. In collaboration with each classroom teacher, Krissie’s aim is to teach awareness and healthy internet use patterns at a young age, when children are more willing to be monitored and are more open to the conversation about technology use. The lessons in Digital Citizenship are being combined with the Ruler Program and are modeling compassion and community. Asking students to be mindful of how they want to be, How they want to feel, And how they make others feel online.
Digital Citizenship is providing a sophisticated awareness about manipulation, perception versus reality, overuse and models healthy patterns of use. Krissie commends Gateway for doing a great job of actively supporting what the school values, by not only implementing this program but also by bringing Cyber Education Consultant, Lori Getz, to Gateway working in our classrooms with our students as well as speaking to parents.
Lori Getz explained how internet use subjects our children to new risks that they are not prepared to handle. In her talk she covered rules of personal safety, healthy attention versus unhealthy attention, self-esteem, ergonomics, and being mindful of others. She asks questions that introduce the children to situations that could arise online, giving them an awareness of what their response and emotions might be.
Lori Getz’s two most important rules of online safety: Do not give people information they should not have and do not hide anything from parents. She stressed that this is an ongoing conversation and not something parents should address only one time. Her example given was, “would you only remind your child one time to say please and thank you?” With 3 billion people accessing the internet daily, our children have to be educated about media use and frequently reminded of the rules. While the Digital Citizenship initiative is providing students and faculty with tools and guidelines for safe and healthy use here at school, Lori Getz sent parents home educated on the subject as well.