You recently wrote a post about engaging youth in conversations about online safety and digital citizenship? Do you have any tips or resources on how to do this?
– Monica, Toledo, Ohio
This is a great question! Involving young people in this conversation can be as simple as asking what they are doing online and who they are hanging out with. Ask them about cyberbullying, sharing information, and texting. Most kids are developing a strong sense of online ethics and we can learn a lot about how they are negotiating online relationships and digital dilemmas by asking them about it. The more we engage in conversation, listen, and share our own expectations, the more likely they are to make the right choices when confronted with difficult choices.
There are also lots of organizations, including some driven by youth themselves, that have done a great job creating Internet safety videos and other materials to engage other teens in important issues like cyberbullying, online privacy, and sexting. Check out a couple of my favorites right now:
This video, Where Are You? created by Mark C. Eshleman and featuring Tyler Joseph just won Trend Micro’s 2011 “What is Your Story” Internet Safety Video contest (scroll down to the 2011 winner).
The Ad Council has also done a great job creating internet safety videos using short PSAs that bring typical online scenarios (in this case posting a picture to Facebook) into the real world. Does it make us feel differently? I’ve shown this particular video to a lot of young people and it certainly spurs them to think before they post:
And yet another internet safety video created by the Ad Council that encourages us to think about the real world emotional impact of words we might flippantly use online:
Check out the following links for collections of digital citizenship videos: