Digital Citizenship Ideas for the Summer

When thinking about technology for the summer, we felt that it was important to focus on the lessons that concentrated on the themes of Balance and Positive Use.

Balanced students use digital devices wisely while understanding and valuing the importance of learning and developing relationships in both digital and face-to-face environments.

Positive students use technology to learn, communicate, collaborate, and create. They demonstrate upstanding behaviour and do not use technology to the detriment of others.

As parents, the summer is the time when you become the main teacher of digital citizenship skills. Below are some resources that might help you as you plan your summer.

Some things to consider when thinking about technology and your children (no matter their age):

  • Set expectations about what, how, and where technology is used.
    • How children use technology is important.
      • Consider the content and context with which children interact with tech.
      • Are you as the parent participating in the tech experience?
      • Is there exposure to new things, new learning? Does that fuel your conversations?
      • App Ratings from Common Sense Media
  • Where children use technology is also important.
    • Since mobile devices can go anywhere, determine where they should and should not be played.
      • Some suggestions are:
        • Social gatherings are off limits for tech
        • Mealtimes (off limits for all participants)
        • No bedrooms with technology
  • Set limits on technology (balance)
    • Contracts and written agreements might help with this
    • If you expect your children to unplug, you need to model “tech-free time” as well.
    • Set a time limit.
      • Have them log their time on the computer.
      • Have them read, play games, or exercise a certain amount to earn technology time. For example, 30 minutes of playing piano = 30 minutes of technology time.
      • Use timers - The beep means time is up.
  • Establish a dialogue about technology with your children.
    • Have a discussion about your expectations of online behavior (positive).
    • Discuss the real meaning of online privacy. Use situations to illustrate your point.
    • Check the settings on the device to ensure personal privacy and monetary security.
    • Establish a routine or a set protocol for what happens when your child is upset or confused by something which they encounter on the Internet.
    • Do research about web filtering .

Sometimes the parent needs to restrict the way in which the computer, iPad, or mobile device is used. Here is aquick guide to the parental controls on a range of devices.

If your children are really interested in technology, a great way of monitoring their tech use is to enroll them in a technology based camp. A great thing about camps is that they are as much about the social aspects as they are about the technology. Another positive about camps is that these camps primarily focus on creativity and the production of technology products and not merely the consumption of technology (ie: games). Some of these camps even have sports time as a part of the camp program.

Below are some great resources for technology summer camps:

More resources about Parenting in the Digital Age: