Internet Safety and Citizenship

girl with tablet

All Northshore staff believe in the importance of empowering students to engage with digital content and platforms to meet learning goals.

A critical element in leveraging technology for learning is the development of Digital Citizenship skills.  A Digital Citizen is one who:

  1. Understands human, cultural and societal issues related to technology and practices legal and ethical behavior.
  2. Advocates and practices safe, legal and responsible use of information and technology.
  3. Exhibits a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
  4. Demonstrates personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  5. Exhibits leadership for digital citizenship.

All students in Northshore receive annual instruction on Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety.  Our adopted curriculum, Common Sense Media's Digital Literacy and Citizenship Program, supports students as they make decisions about appropriate online behavior, using personal devices, and interact with other individuals on social networking websites.  The CSM curriculum also emphasizes CyberBullying awareness and appropriate response. You can find many more articles, videos, and other support resources on the Common Sense Media website

You might also find the resources at Netsmartz to be helpful when talking to your student about Digital Citizenship.

How can I support my student at home with responsible use of technology?

Families can support the development of Digital Citizenship skills at home in many ways:

  • Read and understand our district's Responsible Use Procedure - this is the document that guides appropriate and responsible use of technology resources for learning 
  • Get familiar with the elements of the Common Sense Media curriculum
  • Talk openly with your students about their use of digital resources and media, particularly social media tools
  • Establish a balanced schedule that includes time for play as well as appropriate screen time for their age

How can I encourage a balanced use of technology for my student?

Media and digital devices are an integral part of our world today. The benefits of these devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be great. But, research has shown that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers plays a pivotal and even more important role in promoting children's learning and healthy development. Keep the face-to-face up front, and don't let it get lost behind a stream of media and tech.  Here's a summary of the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Make a family media use plan and discuss it as a family.
  • Treat media just like any other environment in your child's life - know what they're doing, where the safety measures are, and what activities they're engaging in.
  • Set limits and encourage playtime.
  • Screen time shouldn't always be alone time.  
  • Be a good role model - monitor your own use of media.
  • Limit digital media for the youngest family members.
  • Create tech-free zones in your home. (mealtime, bedroom, etc)
  • Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier.
  • Do your homework on apps for kids - use tools like the ones at Common Sense Media to evaluate the apps your kids are using.
  • Know that it is OK for your teen to be online.  Its part of typical adolescent development.
  • Warn children about the importance of privacy and and the dangers of predators and sexting.

Read the full article by visiting this website.

What apps might my student be using that could be risky?

This article from Common Sense Media has great information for parents.  Here's a summary:

  • Keeping up with all the apps kids love is a lost cause.  By the time you learn about the apps, your student has moved on to something else.
  • Texting apps are popular, particularly for students who have limits to their texts or who want more freedom of content.
    • Examples: GroupMe, Kik Messenger, WhatsApp
    • Watch for inappropriate GIFs and emojis
  • Photo and Videosharing apps and sites allow users to upload visual media to share with others to get "likes" and comments.
    • Examples: Instagram, TikTok
    • Likes can be very "addictive" to teens, in particular; this can have profound impact on their self-esteem and worth
    • Watch for settings to keep photos and videos private - some services make public the default
    • There can be lots of questionable content in these services
  • Live video streaming apps and sites allow users to broadcast their activity in real time
    • Examples: Houseparty, Live.me, YouNow, Music.ly, Live.ly
    • Users can take screenshots during a chat, which makes the image "permanent" to the person who owns the screenshot
    • There is no moderation on most of these sites
    • There can be inappropriate content
    • Predatory comments are possible
  • Self-Destructing Apps
    • Examples: Snapchat, Whisper
    • It is a myth that Snapchats go away forever
    • Tools like these can "normalize" sexting
    • High risk of "iffy" content
  • Chatting, meeting, and dating apps
    • Examples: Monkey, MeetMe, Omegle, Yubo
    • Its easy in some of these sites to lie about your age.
    • You often have to share your location, which risks exposure to predatory behavior and stalking.

Who can I talk to at school about Technology Use?

In Northshore, Teacher Librarians are the primary contacts for Digital Citizenship and Responsible Use of Technology.  They deliver the required instruction on this important topic.  

If you suspect that your student is the victim of cyberbullying or is misusing technology, please reach out to your school's Principal or Assistant Principal.

Can someone present to my PTA/PTO/Parent Group on this topic?

Absolutely.  The Northshore Instructional Technology team is happy to bring parent education resources to your PTA or parent group.  Please contact Shelby Reynolds for more information.  (425-408-7755 or sreynolds@nsd.org)

Where can I read about this issue further?