While my own eight year old child still has just fledging interest in Internet content (restricted to looking at YouTube videos of model trains or Legos and watching Netflix episodes of "Flying Wild Alaska" or "World's Toughest Fixes"), my husband and I are very aware of how we are and will continue to age-appropriately teach him to be a safe, smart, and hopefully, socially active digital citizen.
This is an arena of parenting/education that I hope we can work collaboratively on with our school's administrators and teachers, as well. I believe that we are very fortunate to have the most conducive environment within our Quaker school in which to incorporate what is another literacy - digital literacy. Our children learn explicitly and implicitly every day and in many ways the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship, and truth. What better way, than with this strong set of values, to approach the expertise and creativity (and yes, the dark side) of our global community that expresses itself via the Internet?
We have the perfect framework for this part of our children's education to work hand-in-hand with our school. And while there certainly are dangers and inappropriate content to be found, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to use this powerful tool, just as we teach them to drive cars and say no to drugs. It is our responsibility to give our children information (give trust) and stay in a positive relationship with them as their "soft place to fall" (receive trust), and know that these things will keep them safe and smart.
Here are a few other resources to look at, if you have not already been immersed in this yourself:
Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum from Common Sense Media
Digital Literacy from DigitalLiteracy.gov
What are your views?
Photo credit: Microsoft Office graphics