A very productive work session with my partner, Liane Loeppky, has me feeling really positive about our as yet to be named project. We are writing an e-book about why and how to introduce social media etiquette to young learners.
Why would we choose such a project? And why would we advocate for using social media in Kindergarten and Grade 1? Simply put, I am extremely concerned with what I am seeing posted on twitter, Facebook and other social media by the teenagers of today. Children need to be taught that they must be a good CITIZEN no matter what the venue. Digital citizenship is a bit of a misnomer, in my opinion. We must be considerate, kind and compassionate in real life AND online.
If the importance of one’s digital footprint is introduced in Kindergarten, I feel that as the students grow, learn and mature, they will come to understand their role in a digital world. Things that are not appropriate to be said in person should never be posted online. Children need to be taught the difference between what is suitable for a public venue (real or online) or is better kept private. Learning that the internet is only one click away from becoming public even if you think your privacy settings are airtight is an extremely important lesson. Particularly with Facebook seemingly in a constant state of flux with its privacy settings, it is imperative for people to know how to be safe online. Adults today at least have some sense of discernment (I hope) when it comes to these matters, but teenagers who were not raised in a digital world and have had no guidance in social media are making life-altering mistakes on a public stage.
It is my hope that the book that Liane and I are writing will serve to help teachers lead their young students through beginning lessons in how to communicate appropriately online by building friendships with other kindergarten classes around the world.