Coalition Launches Campaign Aimed at State Lawmakers to Promote K–12 Digital Citizenship

A national coalition of groups oriented toward children and media launched a new campaign Friday to encourage state lawmakers to promote digital citizenship in schools, according to Education Week and other sources.

Common Sense Kids Action — the advocacy arm of the nonprofit Common Sense Media — will lead the campaign. Other groups involved include Media Literacy Now, the Digital Citizenship Institute and the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

The goal is to impel adoption of new legislation requiring the formation of state-level advisory committees responsible for finding ways to help students use classroom technology safely and ethically while becoming knowledgeable consumers and creators of online media and information.

Together, the groups in the coalition hope to persuade 20 states to pass new digital citizenship legislation in 2017.

The coalition is circulating model legislation based on a bill passed by Washington state this year — the first comprehensive digital citizenship legislation in the country, according to Common Sense Kids Action.

As the internet, social media and digital devices have become omnipresent, they’ve presented children with new opportunities to connect with others, engage in school and take part in civic and public life. However, they also expose children to the risks of cyberbullying, harassment and explicit images and messages that are too intense for them to handle.

To reflect that reality, “digital citizenship” should cover both media literacy and responsible online behavior, according to Education Week and many experts and educators.

Common Sense Media has produced free curricular materials for schools, to empower students to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in today’s digital world.

To learn more about this issue, visit the Common Sense Kids Action site or peruse the Washington state digital citizenship legislation.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].