CyberEducationI was asked by Dr. Greene, what I would like to see change for 2015, and for me, it was easy.

It’s about time all schools require students to attend cyber-civics classes!  Yes, digital citizenship is as important today as Home Economics and Wood Shop was back in my generation.  The slight difference is – these were optional classes, whereas cyber-civics should be required.

It is a fact, your online reputation will determine your future.

We could actually extend this to require parents to attend seminars about online safety and digital security.  This would be extremely beneficial since studies have shown that our children rely on their parents for information about cybersafety.

According to a study by done by Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) students want to learn about online safety mainly from tech experts and their parents.

  • 56% said  school assembly with industry technology experts
  • 45% said their parent or guardian talking to them about identity theft

With this, we absolutely need our schools and parents involved.

In another study by Stage of Life, it revealed that 97% of the youth learned their manners from their parents.

What these studies are sharing with us is that digital citizenship and online safety shouldn’t only be taught at schools, it is also a parent’s responsibility to continue to implement offline digital skills to compliment what students would learn in school.

The cliché  – it takes a village to raise a child – has never been so accurate as it is in today’s society with all of our gadgets and devices – combined with social networking etiquette!

What can you do to get started?

Offline parenting is key to your child’s online safety.  It is something I have been saying for a very long time.  We can blame websites, apps and social media networks – but at the end of the day – it is the human person (the user) that has to make wise decisions online.

Your child needs to have the wisdom and courage to know when to click-out, block and tell an adult.  There will always be apps and sites that are debatable – so we have to be sure our kids are prepared no matter what they are confronted with.

We have to be sure our kids know they can always tell a trusted adult, especially if you are not available, if someone online is harassing them (cyberbullying) or any other issue that is happening – including being threatened.

Fortunately more show, such as Dateline, are sharing stories of how young people are being extorted online.  A recent segment of teen that experienced ‘sextortion’ is an eye-opener and all parents should sit down and watch it with their teens and tweens.  This is an excellent opportunity to start a conversation – and put that sticker on all your webcams.

Continuing on.

If you are a parent that is active in the PTA/O or if you aren’t, become active and share this video and there are plenty of other stories of why digital citizenship is so important today, to start a campaign to get classes in your school.

Do you need help with how to get started?

Look no further then Cyberwise!  They have all sorts of lesson plans.  Get your guidance counselors involved.  Start small and grow!  Contact Cyberwise – I am sure they can help you get started too.

It’s a fact, your child will be entering a world where their virtual image will be their initial impression.  If there is digital dirt, chances are very good they won’t be invited to the college of their choice or asked to interview in person for a dream job they have been waiting for.

Digital citizenship today is as important as potty training is to toddler’s.  It’s necessary.