Encouraging Responsible Technology Use

AISB believes that developing our students' capacities to use technology is extremely important for their learning in school and competence in the workplace. And just as children and young adults learn the norms of social behavior in school and at home, they must learn the norms of digital behavior; this set of norms is known as digital citizenship. Therefore, we emphasize students' responsible use of technology, so they they develop digital citizenship, within the classroom and would encourage your reinforcement of these norms at home.

What AISB Does to Promote Digital Citizenship

At school, AISB encourages responsible use through classroom discussions, having teachers model responsible use, especially with the help of the student-led Digital Leaders group that assists students with their use of technology. We follow Common Sense Media's digital citizenship curriculum. Students in grades 3-12 are asked to sign a responsible use agreement (elementary version | secondary version) when they enroll at the school. In cases where students do not follow the responsible use agreement, a warning results from the first incident, parents are contacted and network privileges are suspended for one week after the second incident, and the student is referred to the administration for further consequences on the third incident.

How Parents Can Help

At home, students need to continue to use their devices responsibly. In this, it is impossible to overstate the importance of parents in encouraging responsible use by their children. For example, students having their own devices may experience a drop in academic scores without parental guidance at home (Pinker, "Can Students Have Too Much Tech?"). Parents should consider using parental control software and internet filtering, especially for elementary and middle school students, and be sure have conversations with their children and set clear expectations and consequences. Below are some points to consider:

  1. You can probably trust your kids, but you can't trust the people they'll meet on the Internet.
  2. The web changes the way we "think and focus" (Taylor).
  3. The web is changing the way we read. Specifically, the web encourages us to skim and quickly pick out our facts from sites, social media, and chat. It is easier for us to sort through a large amount of information, but it also means we are reading less "deeply" (carefully and conscientiously, to get the full meaning of a text), making it more difficult for us to understand complex written arguments. Therefore, parents should set aside time in their children's schedules for distraction-free reading on paper or using an e-reader.
  4. Multitasking harms productivity and learning. Numerous studies have pointed to how multitasking (checking e-mail when doing homework, reading the web while listening to a lecture) leads to decreased recall for students. Therefore, parents should ask students to do their homework without their device unless the assignment specifically calls for internet access or digital content creation. If students do need to use their device, they should close all non-related programs and websites to help them avoid distractions. (Read more about the problems with multitasking here.)
  5. Resilience and problem-solving is critical.
  6. The internet has made intellectual dishonesty effortless and unintentional. Encourage your son or daughter to use a plagiarism checker like this one or this one, which also includes checks of conventions, word choice, and transitions.
  7. Supervision is necessary.

Taylor, Jim Ph.D. "How Technology is Changing the Way Children Think and Focus." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 4 Dec. 2012. Web. 4 June 2015.

Author/editor: mkelsey