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Building Digital Literacy

This blog is by a COBIS Supporting Associate, Komodo

By Ilia Lindsay, Registered Psychologist, Komodo Psychology Lead

How do we find the balance when it comes to managing the increasingly pervasive presence of technology and students who are in a critical developmental period? The answer is introducing a solid digital literacy strategy in your classroom - when written language became the way to communicate, society shifted to teach and disperse this knowledge, so we need to do the same when it comes to digital literacy. We didn’t just teach people to write the same sentence, we taught the alphabet, we taught phonetics, and syntax so that people could use written language for a variety of things.  Teaching students about digital agency, risk and digital safety is crucial. We need to provide them with the knowledge and skills to navigate online spaces safely and responsibly, so we can help them make informed decisions and protect their digital wellbeing.

Digital literacy may include discussions around a range of topics encouraging critical thinking about online information and the safe use of technology. It’s important to encourage students to be responsible digital citizens.

Topics to speak with your students about may include:

-        Personal Information Protection: Teach students to safeguard their personal information, including full names, addresses, phone numbers, and school details. Emphasize the importance of strong, unique passwords for online accounts and the risks of using easily guessable passwords.

-        Online Privacy: Educate students about privacy settings on social media platforms and the implications of sharing personal information publicly. Discuss the concept of "digital footprint" and how their online actions can leave a lasting trace.

-        Social Media and Reputation: Help students understand that their online actions and posts can impact their current and future reputations. Discuss the potential consequences of sharing inappropriate content or engaging in cyberbullying.

-        Cyberbullying and Harassment: Teach students about the negative impact of cyberbullying on mental health and wellbeing. Encourage them to report incidents of cyberbullying and provide resources for seeking help.

-        Critical Thinking and Media Literacy: Train students to critically evaluate online information, identify fake news, and verify the credibility of sources. Teach them to question content that seems sensational or overly biased.

-        Recognizing Online Scams: Discuss common online scams, phishing attempts, and fraudulent schemes. Teach students to be cautious when sharing personal or financial information online.

-        Digital Footprint and Future Opportunities: Help students understand that their digital footprint can affect college admissions, job opportunities, and other life choices. Encourage them to curate their online presence to showcase their skills and achievements positively.

-        Online Relationships and Communication: Discuss the importance of respectful and responsible communication in online interactions. Highlight the risks of sharing personal information or engaging in inappropriate conversations with strangers.

-        Safe Online Gaming: Teach students about the potential risks associated with online gaming, including exposure to inappropriate content and interactions with strangers. Encourage them to follow age-appropriate guidelines and settings.

-        Reporting and Seeking Help: Inform students about reporting mechanisms on social media platforms and websites. Provide resources for seeking help if they encounter unsafe or uncomfortable situations online.

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, finding the equilibrium between embracing technology and nurturing digital literacy is a critical endeavour. By doing so, we equip students with the tools to navigate the digital age with confidence, resilience, and a keen sense of digital wellbeing. At Komodo, we know this is a community effort. There is a role for teachers, students and the wider school community when it comes to digital literacy and protecting digital wellbeing. We encourage you to continue this conversation with your school network and work in collaboration to create a “safety net” so that digital technologies can be used for good.

Is your school using digital technology to support student wellbeing? Are you working toward the balance of technology and wellbeing?

If you would like to explore this further, book a demo call with one of the Komodo team today, click here.