Monday, September 7, 2015

District Digital Citizenship Committee: Tonka Schools Campaign to Raise Awareness of Cyber Safety at Home

An article in our local newspaper last week mentioned our efforts to get the word out about cyber safety and digital citizenship to our community: Tonka Schools Campaign to Raise Awareness of Cyber Safety at Home. The article focusing on filtering options and suggestions.  It mentions that our school-issued iPads for grades 5-12 have a built in filter that works regardless of whether or not the device is on or off campus. We are still working to help our parents and the community as a whole understand the need for a filter on a cellular device, and the article details Curbi as a solution for this, which I have mentioned in the past. I have yet to find a comparable working product for Andriod--if you know of one, please share! This was a great quote about filters from a Minnetonka parent in the newspaper article:
Even smart kids make poor choices. Kids are curious. This is an opportunity to allow your kids a safe way to explore the Internet. Then you can let out more line as they show responsibility and gain respect for the technology. It’s training wheels for a powerful tool.
I've mentioned in past posts that we have a Digital Citizenship Committee (Parenting with Purpose in the Digital Age... It's Complicated and Managing New Devices Received at the Holidays). This group is working to increase awareness and engage students, staff, parents, and community in raising responsible digital citizens of the future. We are using a positive community norms framework to define needs and norms among our students, staff, parents, and community for safe and appropriate technology use. The group seeks to guide and promote the importance of teaching everyone the necessary skills of digital citizenship and do so in a multi-medium, frequent and repeated way. The committee members serve as eyes and ears in the community, keeping a pulse on awareness and issues and serving as a champion for responsible digital citizenship.

This Digital Citizenship Committee is composed of a variety of school staff (teachers, media specialists, instructional technology coaches, technology admin, principals, communications director), parents, and community members (a pediatrician and a child psychologist). We meet quarterly to plan the best methods for message delivery to not only students, but also parents and our community through a variety of methods, including tips on our District Facebook page and Twitter account.

A few times a year we offer parent ed presentations on raising digital kids and parenting with purpose. We provide many resources to our parents and community on our District websiteOn a 2015 survey, our students' parents were asked questions related to technology use at home/outside of school. This data was gathered for the District’s Digital Citizenship Task Force to review current practices and provide a baseline for the future. We found that:
  • 49% report that they have installed a filter on their wireless internet access at home that blocks inappropriate websites, an increase of 8% from 2012.
  • Agreement with the statement “Communication from teachers and administrators regarding the iPad have helped our family to develop productive strategies for home use of the device” increased from 56 to 60%.
  • 30% of parents report that their child has a cellphone with internet access WITH a filter that blocks inappropriate websites.
  • 56% of parents report that their child usually keeps an iPad/cell phone or personal technology device in their bedroom overnight.
This fall our Digital Citizenship Committee is planning to promote the Kindness in Chalk Day on Friday, October 9 as part of National Cyber Safety Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. We are partnering with area community organizations to do this, such as local doctors' offices, banks, churches, and more. This is just the beginning of another year's worth of efforts to help foster conversations and increase awareness about techcognition- how both kids and adults balance their use of technology in today's digital world.

More information and resources can be found at

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