Elevating Digital Citizenship Through SEL


What an individual chooses to share on social media gives the public a unique insight into what a person may be thinking or feeling.  We create a personal brand through our various digital platforms, which serve as a social resume to both friends, family, and the public.  

How students respond to cyber-bullying or decide what to share on social media can have a powerful impact on their futures.  This is why we teach the value of digital citizenship, coined by our friends at Common Sense Media: Students need skills to think through digital dilemmas.  As we teach students to navigate online challenges, we tend to focus on rules and procedures to help guide them.  But there's another factor that's key to making good choices: character.

Character strengths encompass everything from displaying empathy to valuing teamwork and exercising self-regulation.  How will others perceive me if I choose to share this selfie out drinking with friends?  Imagine how a kid might respond to bullying if he or she hasn't learned to empathize with others first… or what's to keep a student from spreading false information if they don't recognize the value of integrity?  Character strengths are essential components to digital citizenship, and through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), we can give students the foundation to handle problems with clarity and heart.

Our friends at Common Sense Media have created a guide for all teachers: Digital Citizenship & Social and Emotional Learning.  It contains a set of digital dilemmas that students will likely face at various points during their lives.  Each dilemma comes with discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about character.

 Check out these guide links below as well as other resources to spark meaningful conversations around character in your classroom and home.

Common Sense Media Teaches Us About Becoming a Digital Citizen

10 Social Media Tips for Teens

Teens increasingly measure and manage their social success online—and it may be taking a toll on their mental health