Student voice is so valuable in digital citizenship and media literacy. It empowers them to share what they know — giving their Askable Adults a point of reference for both understanding and gaps. One exercise I love to do with the students with whom I work is to compile their advice from their own online experiences in an effort to offer personal reflection and reminders on best practices, and to build peer-to-peer support for other students. This powerful prompt is an exercise in “show what you know” to build confidence and agency in our students as they develop and practice their online skills.
This collection of wisdom below is from hundreds of middle school students I worked with directly. The compilation gives us a general understanding of how middle school students are thinking about Tech at this moment, but it can be used to open a dialogue with your own students and children or as an individual exercise.
[I combined the same/similar answers. Otherwise, responses came directly from our workshops.]
To Students From Students: 50 Online Rules to Live By
- Search Secure Websites.
- Don’t sleep with your device.
- Don’t text random people.
- Don’t search random sites. Don’t keep clicking. Avoid clickbait and ads.
- Slow down before clicking and posting.
- Create good habits with your devices.
- Think before you send. Imagine a large audience and many eyes on a post/share/comment.
- Set social media to private.
- Don’t buy followers or worry about the number of followers you have.
- Only allow followers you know — from school, sports, activities, in person.
- Don’t talk to people you don’t know online.
- Protect personal info — names, address, bank account, social security number, school info, etc.
- Don’t overshare/overpost.
- Avoid fake websites and scams.
- Get parent permission before purchases.
- If you see something you’re uncomfortable with, tell an adult — don’t hide it!
- Don’t solve conflicts over devices. Do it face to face.
- Stand up for yourself!
- Check-in with parents before you post.
- Stay away from random strangers.
- Use secure usernames and passwords.
- Don’t sneak!
- Set a time limit for your screen time.
- Don’t judge people on social media or make fun of people.
- Read terms and conditions before agreeing to anything.
- Make sure you feel comfortable with what you’re posting.
- Take care of your physical health — sleep, eyes, radiation, posture.
- Get Permission to Post — Post with Consent!
- If you wouldn’t want your…