Some ‘what to do’s’ for all during Digital Citizenship Week

National Digital Citizenship Week is Oct. 18 to 22, 2021

Oct. 16, 2021 — National Digital Citizenship Week takes place in schools every year in the month of October, and it’s a chance for students, staff and families to reflect on their digital lives as well as the power they have at their fingertips to be a good “Digital Citizen” and make the world a better place. 

Per ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education), digital citizenship “shouldn’t be a long list of don’ts. It should be about the do’s that help create thoughtful, empathetic digital citizens who can wrestle with the important ethical questions at the intersection of technology and humanity.” 

Those do’s include:

  • Using technology to make your community better.
  • Engaging respectfully online with people who have different beliefs than you.
  • Using technology to make your voice heard by public leaders and shape public policy.
  • Determining the validity of online sources of information.

Our Oregon K-12 Library Media Science Standards include Reading Advocacy, Information & Media Literacy, Digital Citizenship and Technology Integration. 

Last year, Siuslaw School District began aligning K-12 Digital Citizenship standards and lessons using a nationally recognized resource, Common Sense Media ( All grade-band lessons are broken down into the subcategories: Media Balance and Well-Being, Privacy and Security, Digital Footprint and Identity, Relationships and Communication, Cyberbullying and Hate Speech, and News and Media Literacy. 

Students are receiving frequent mini-lessons throughout the year, and our goal is to not just teach our Siuslaw learning community to be good digital citizens, but we want to empower all to be digital leaders! 

In addition to K-12 aligned curricular content, Common Sense Media also offers a plethora of super useful research based resources for families. Under the “Parents Need To Know” link, families can access tips organized by age level or topic; some timely topics include privacy and online safety, screen time, cell phones, virtual and online gaming, and social media, to name a few. They also offer wonderful basic social media tips for families, and here’s a quick summary (for more detailed information, visit the website):

  • Elementary School: Children younger than six probably shouldn’t play in virtual worlds. Set up accounts together as a family. If you don’t let your child go on an unsupervised play date, don’t let them go online by themselves, set time limits, establish behavior rules, make sure your child never shares their passwords and keep computers in a supervised, central place.
  • Middle School: Students are developing online relationships and beginning to establish social media accounts by the age of 13; encourage your child to stick with age-appropriate sites, tell your child to “think before they post,” learn how to alter privacy settings within social media apps, and talk to your child about cyberbullying and being an upstander.
  • High School: Teens are living their lives online; continually remind your teen of the permanence of their Digital Footprint (and that they will be judged by it upon submitting scholarship, college and job applications), remind them to be kind and empathetic upstanders, tell them to never post their locations for safety reasons, and work on setting device/social media time limits.  


Amplifying Voice With Social Media

Social media platforms are a powerful tool, when used responsibly, for advocacy work and to enact local, national and global change. 

What’s the most impactful way for educators and families to teach digital citizenship via social media? As the adults in the room, we can model appropriate use! 

Banning social media apps will never resolve the issue of individuals posting inappropriate content online (TikTok Devious Licks, for example). 

We’re teaching our Siuslaw learning community about the power and permanence of one’s Digital Footprint — the fact that the minute your fingers touch a keyboard or a device, the searches you conduct, the websites you visit, the social media content you post — ALL becomes part of your permanent Digital Footprint. It cannot be erased. 

Our students’ Digital Footprints will be screened when they apply for colleges, scholarship money or professional jobs, and we want their online presence to reflect their best selves. Global Teacher Librarian Jennifer Casa Todd, author of “Social LEADia,” always poses the question: “What social media are you on and what would I know about you if I looked there?” 

That’s a powerful question for consideration for people of all ages. 

It’s also quite easy to curate a positive, mindful social media presence. If you ever feel the need to make a social media post private, then you probably shouldn’t be posting that content. A rule of thumb for social media posting that I share with students: If you wouldn’t want your granny to see it (or a loving, trusting adult in your life), don’t post it! 

In the broader picture, ISTE lists specific standards for students, educators and administrators, and they have been adopted by all 50 states ( ISTE standards are embedded into our Oregon Library Media Science Curriculum Standards, and the key areas of focus for our students are:

    • Empowered Learner: Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.
    • Digital Citizen: Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
    • Knowledge Constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
    • Innovative Designer: Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.
    • Computational Thinker: Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
    • Creative Communicator: Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
    • Global Collaborator: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

Celebrate Digital Citizenship week with your friends, family and community and model being a good digital citizen on social media. 

We all have the power to change the world literally at our fingertips. What will your digital legacy be?

Contact Jennifer McKenzie at [email protected] and learn more about the school district’s library at