Parents Beware! Don’t Let Your Kids Get to the Danger Zone.
How to Focus on Digital Citizenship!
With the school year already upon us, this month we’re going to focus on an area of entertainment that boggles my mind as an adult. I was recently directed to a YouTube clip related to Fortnite in which Vegeta (of Dragon Ball Z fame) was dancing. This very confusing imagery led me towards a deeper investigation as to why something like this even exists. There’s a lot to unpack here. For clarification, many moons ago, I was a big DBZ fan and was always on the edge of my seat to find out what was in store for Goku and friends. I never imagined the cast would be shooting anything other than energy blasts. And then there’s the dancing… Why the dancing?
In this day and age, our gamers are hyper connected and want to express themselves. Whether as avatars, on forums, live voice or test chat, YouTube Comments, and social media accounts, “conversations” are happening and digital footprints are being established. Step into an Among Us game and brace yourself. It’s truly astonishing what is being said in these environments and how these spaces are shaping how we interact with the world around us.
Where is there an opportunity to learn from all of this? An ever growing area of focus is on Digital Citizenship, which is rarely deeply examined in traditional school settings. For one, the students are in school, and secondly, our educators, including myself, are clueless. While I’m quite knowledgeable around the topics of digital citizenship ranging from empathy to cybersecurity, I am far from engaged in online gaming communities and forums and often find myself falling behind. While many will learn positive practices from the norms established in those communities, we certainly can’t leave that up to chance. During my deep dive of topic, I kept circling back to these questions:
- Who are the active groups (in or out of school) that have vetted mentors that are excited to share their knowledge of a certain game?
- Is there a hangout spot (online or IRL) where kids can play together without having to build their own inflated persona and just be themselves?
- How am I enabling ways for my child to express themselves in a conducive manner (or not)?
- How am I modeling digital citizenship?
TLDR; With the ease associated with accessing all of the online communities, we as parents need to be aware of what’s out there and rely on our own networks to stay ahead of the curve. A dancing Saiyan does not accurately portray who we are as individuals, but it certainly does provide a sign of the times and the importance of taking Digital Citizenship seriously.
Digital Dragon offers Digital Citizenship classes in our partner schools, to learn more about our program, reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.