Digital Citizenship

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Would the President’s Tweets Get Him In Trouble at School?

Many of President Trump’s tweets have recently been scrutinized by bullying experts, notes a recent article on The article states that while his tweets about television personalities like MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarborough would probably not be enough to get him suspended or expelled were he still in middle or high school, they would be enough for school officials to intercede and make him accountable for his behavior. The experts remind parents and teachers that the most important message to give young people who are fascinated by his questionable tweets is to remind them that other people stood up to him, including members of his own party, and pointed out that just because someone has a position of authority does not mean they are entitled to belittle and shame others online.

10 Social Media Issues That Landed Students in Hot Water

As a parent, when you sit down to have a discussion with your child about the ways social media can get them into trouble at school (or with the police), it can be really helpful to have some examples. Education Week has taken the time to examine ten such incidents that made recent headlines. From references to school shootings to racist rants to complaints about water quality, students’ social media posts this past school year have resulted in suspensions, expulsions, arrests, and lawsuits. It is an eye opening read including how much trouble students can get into for filming videos on school grounds (even if it was to expose the bad quality of the water supply in school water fountains, or as a backdrop for a rap video), or even for posting images of texts sent by others in an effort to expose racism. After you finish reading this article you may feel like telling your kids to refrain from posting anything at all! That, of course, is very unrealistic, but these examples do provide context to the advice “think before your post.”

Cyberbullying and the Future …and FLOTUS

Technology can be a wonderful tool that connects us with information and with each other, but we all know there is a dark side to technology use, including things like hacking, cybercrime and cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has been a hot topic in schools and in the news over the past decade, but these days we are finding debate about what exactly cyberbullying entails and what is the best way to tackle it.

Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers, leadership experts in the education field, note in a new opinion piece from Education Week that while FLOTUS Melania Trump has said she wants to make cyberbullying her priority cause, they feel that she needs to learn more about the topic. They hope she will come to understand that the only way to solve cyberbullying is to act as a role model, work on defining cyberbullying for the country, and lead us into a more respectful time. Berkowitz and Meyers also remind readers that the mindset  “if you are being hurt, hurt someone else worse” is something that parents and children are going to have to learn to turn away from if the problem of cyberbullying is ever going to see some kind of resolution.

Tech Helping Schools Overcome Language Barriers

School districts across the country are using machine translation, human translation, or some combination of both to help bridge the barriers for English-language learners. Some districts are using Google's Website Translator plug-in for translations on anything from homework worksheets to school lunch menus, while others have adopted mobile apps such as TalkingPoints to translate text messages, allowing non-English speaking parents to communicate with teachers in more than 20 languages.


With tablets becoming more and more akin to sketchpads these days with the use of a stylus, it is no wonder that educators are talking more about a new method of taking illustrated notes called sketchnoting to help kids improve retention and learning. Take a look at this presentation called Sketchnoting for Beginners to see what it entails – sort of a combination of visual notetaking, diagrams, symbols, objects, arrows, dividers, bubbles, boxes, colors, and typography and much more. Ask you kids to try the method by sketchnoting a newstory on television or part of a documentary. Sketchnoting can help kids focus during lectures and adds that digital component – if done on a tablet- that may just help them focus.

Digital Dating Abuse – Gender Matters

Although both young men and women in high school are affected by digital dating abuse, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of California Santa Barbara have found that girls suffer more issues such as being pressured to sext, receiving threatening messages, and having someone monitor their whereabouts and activities. Both girls and boys, however, also reported they respond to direct aggression by blocking communication.

Girl Scouts to Offer Cybersecurity Badges

Would you like a few strings of code with those cookies? Beginning in 2018, the Girl Scouts of the USA will offer 18 cybersecurity badges – including coding, principles of firewalls and even white hat hacking - available to girls in their programs who are in kindergarten through 12th grade. Girl Scout officials say the initiative seeks to encourage girls to pursue careers in the technology industry. The Girls Scouts currently have 1.8 million girls enrolled.

Your Cell Number – Are You Sharing It Too Freely?

Here’s a bad piece of news. Our cell phone numbers becoming a lot like Social Security numbers: they are the gateway to our identities, providing an entrance to personal data – your email address, physical address, even physical whereabouts—and all the personal information that is kept about you by nearly all corporations, financial institutions, and social media networks. Yet when we are asked for our cell numbers for whatever reason, we often give them out without even a second thought.  What can you do? Take a look at these tips and use common sense. If you are asked for your phone number, it never hurts to ask why.

Banning Smartphones for Those Under 13?

A group in Colorado called Parents Against Underage Smartphones is looking into putting a ballot initiative up that would require retailers to submit reports to the state government verifying that they had inquired about the intended user for each smartphone sold, and fine those that repeatedly sell phones to be used by young children and preteens. Many critics understand the reasoning behind the proposed law, but think it oversteps the government's role into private family life. What’s your opinion?

Apps and Diversity

Keeping in line with many popular media including books and television programs, apps for kids are also beginning to reflect diversity. Toca Boca is one of the leading children’s app developers and its goal is that "no kid should ever feel excluded by Toca Boca." In Toca Life: School, kids interact with 32 characters, representing different races, ages, backgrounds and physical abilities. The app allows kids to move the characters in and out of the five scenes to act out stories set in a school location. In each scene, players will find a wheelchair, so that any character can be placed there to tell a story. Biracial families show up in apps such as Goldilocks and Little Bear from Nosy Crow. Stereotypes as quashed in apps like Fox & Sheep's Little Farmers - Tractors, Harvesters & Farm Animals for Kids where both males and females appear driving the big machinery.