Technology and the Internet have created countless new opportunities for learning. Students can now read about virtually any subject from anywhere and can connect with people and places around the world. Teachers are harnessing the power of the technology to bring curriculum alive and modify instruction to meet the unique needs of every child. Technology is essential for the development of 21st century skills that will help students thrive in their chosen careers.
Technology is everywhere. We text, tweet, shop, learn, play games, plan family vacations, and even worship online. Some of us even use technology to track our 10,000 steps each day, like I did during this past summer’s convention.
Personally, I love technology. I use it extensively at my job. And on my many travels for National PTA, I often use my phone to arrange for transportation, confirm speaking engagements and to stay in touch with our state and local units.
But with new gadgets, social media platforms and apps coming out every day, I, like most families, don’t have the time or tech savvy to stay on top of the latest fad.
When I think about the vast online world, I look at it through the same lens that I look at everyday life. The ways you should act, protect yourself and treat others online are not so different from what you should do offline. We all strive to be good citizens in the real world. In the virtual world, we should all strive to practice good digital citizenship.
It starts with treating others as you want to be treated. Be kind. Look out for others. It should be a place to share what we learn and love, stay in touch with friends and family, and a great platform to support our favorite causes.
National PTA has teamed up with LifeLock to bridge the conversation gap about digital safety, promote digital citizenship and share the awesome ways families and friends can inspire each other to use technology in positive ways to help others. Helping our children maximize smarter, safer, more rewarding decisions online will go far in reducing everyone’s stress levels when it comes to the use of technology.
Here are five ways we can start:
- Share your thoughts but don’t share personal info (i.e., address, phone number).
- Follow the rules of the site or app and check privacy settings often.
- A virtual friend is still a stranger. Never make plans to meet up offline.
- Block, delete or hide people who bring you down. Tell a trusted adult if you feel in danger.
- Unplug or power down when walking or driving.
National PTA has built a central online hub of expert information about digital safety, as well as activation tools for students, parents, PTAs and schools to participate in a campaign that we call #ShareAwesome. Shareawesomenow.org was built in collaboration with expert advisors from ConnectSafely.org and Common Sense Media. Our hope is that you will use these tools to create a sustained, multi-faceted conversation between parents and students that, hopefully, will allow students to participate in, and steer, the conversation by creating content themselves.
Through the power of digital media—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Bloggers, e-newsletters—we hope this information will reach every home in America. To generate #ShareAwesome enthusiasts, we have launched a scholarship contest that invites social media users to share a smart and safe decision, uplifting accomplishment, or positive action for the good of others using hashtag #ShareAwesome.
Technology is good, and it’s here to stay. It resonates with children, tweens and teens. It should also resonate with adults in a way that is positive and promotes a happy, healthy lifestyle. When it comes to the digital world, it’s time for all of us to shift the dialogue from scary and preachy to celebratory, fun, and a part of everyday life.
LifeLock is a financial sponsor of National PTA.National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.