"The Internet, texting, social networking -- these are the realities of teen life today. And while all of these things can be misused, they also have the potential for being powerful tools when used responsibly."
"At this age, the Internet is no longer a solitary or passive experience. For preteens and teens, the Internet is social. Teens are using the Internet to express themselves and to experiment anonymously with different identities. While the desire to strike out on their own is age-appropriate, these kids still need parental guidance (sometimes from a respectful distance) on how to conduct themselves safely online."
It is essential to teach digital literacies, including cyber citizenship in school; however, few schools do, and so much of children’s experience with digital media is gained outside the classroom – which is why it’s so exciting to see MTV team up with the widely popular game “Angry Birds” to raise awareness about cyberbullying.
"Recently, my district began a huge initiative to combat bullying/cyberbullying and to help students become more aware of the choices they make both in their face-to-face lives and their digital decisions as well..."
"Internet safety at this age requires that you continue to monitor high-schoolers’ online lives, staying as involved as you can and injecting your own values to counteract some of the less desirable aspects of the Internet."
While we shouldn't stop teaching children how to say "please" and "thank you," and bullies will still exist in the face-to-face world, it is vital that we treat online safety and digital citizenship with the same amount of seriousness and attention.
"The ease and immediacy of digital devices -- cell phones, smart phones, Internet access, and social networks -- allow us to get answers quickly and efficiently without having to do a lot of work. And if it's a gray area for parents, it's really shady for kids."
"Education on cyberbullying and cyber-behaviors needs to begin well before Middle School," Englander recommends in the study. "Children are all online by third grade and over 20 percent report experiencing problems with peers online."
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