Back in June, The Online Safety and Technology Working Group finished their government-mandated report to Congress, entitled “Youth Safety on a Living Internet.” The report “points to the growing importance of online citizenship and media-literacy education, in addition to what has come to be seen as online safety education, as solutions to youth risk online.” In a blog post by Adam Thierer of Progress & Freedom Foundation and a member of the group who authored the report, he states:
• Provide targeted online-safety messaging and treatment.
• Avoid scare tactics and promote the social-norms approach to risk prevention.
• Promote digital citizenship in pre-K-12 education as a national priority.
• Promote instruction in digital media literacy and computer security in pre-K-12 education nationwide.
Here is a clear call to action for the education community – teach kids how to be responsible users of the Internet. We can’t do that by banning and ignoring the tools of the 21st century – including social tools and mobile devices. We need to engage kids using these tools and help them develop the skills to use them ethically and safely to consume, create, and publish content.