Notes from Common Sense Media Training

I just returned from two lovely days in Palm Springs, not specifically to get away from the dreariness of Monterey County this March, but it was a welcome bonus. A dozen or so other educators and I met there to receive training on Common Sense Media's Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum.

Their mission:

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. 
We exist because our nation's children spend more time with media and digital activities than they do with their families or in school, which profoundly impacts their social, emotional, and physical development. As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, we provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.
 CSM offers a K-12 Curriculum on Digital Literacy and Citizenship, and we spent the day gaining exposure to what is available to teachers, parents, and students. Of particular interest are the lesson plans on identity protection, and cyber-bullying. The entire curriculum is based on the results of this comprehensive study from Harvard University.

Key take-aways from the workshop:

  • Kids age 8-18 spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen ... each day ... outside of class
  • 42% of teens and 92% of middle schoolers have been bullied online
  • 10% of bullied teens report it to their parents
  • Online stranger danger is less of a threat than the media would have you fear
  • Teaching students to become ethical digital citizens must start early. Middle school is the sweet spot, but earlier is good too.
What I liked most about the session what the vocabulary CSM has developed to help us talk about these new opportunities and challenges. 

Watch this definition of "Digital Footprint"


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