Be kind, respectful, productive whether online or in person

Lamar University


Be kind, respectful, productive whether online or in person

Because technology has infused every aspect of our lives, we must ensure that we are using technology effectively. Children begin using technology at an early age. We see toddlers playing games on Mom’s phone in line at the grocery store. We see pre-teens with smartphones, texting friends over coffee. Computers are part of classrooms. Textbooks are delivered digitally. Technology really is everywhere.

Because our children are growing up with technology at their fingertips and constantly available, parents and educators must take responsibility for ensuring that children learn to use that technology as it is intended, to facilitate processes, as a tool to learn and grow, and not as a tool to harm others. We need to help our children recognize that their handheld devices can and should be used for more than selfies and social media. And we need to help children recognize that even though they are shielded from the world by a computer screen, their actions through technology can cause harm to others.

Through this course, we have explored cases of cyberbullying, and have seen the effects of that on children and their families. And we have seen how quickly malicious content can be spread through technology. I think most impactful was Monica Lewinsky’s TedTalk showed how the Internet could be used to quickly spread information, whether factual or not. This scandal was the first evidence of how quickly information could be spread. Lewinsky talked candidly about the scandal, and how it impacted her and her family. Public shame and humiliation haunted her for years as a result of information blasted through the Internet.

Through case studies, we saw how comments made through social media, through text messages, and even through a website could result in seriously damaging children and their families. We read about children killing themselves because of the taunts and humiliation spread through social media. We learned about parents learning about the actions of their children after the fact… children unsupervised, with the world of technology at their fingertips.

Ensuring that our children learn how to use technology appropriately, respectfully, responsibly, and with kindness becomes more as we become more reliant on technology. As parents, we need to model good digital citizenship, but we also need to monitor and supervise how our children are using the technology that is available to them. As educators we must help our children learn to use technology as a tool to facilitate learning, and not just as a way to connect with friends socially, and not only for fun and games. According to Jason Ohler in his 2014 podcast entitled Digital Citizenship Mantras, Mottos, schools need to develop a succinct mantra to help children learn to be good digital citizens. Vision statements and mission statements are often lengthy, and not easy to remember. Ohler suggests that a mantra or a motto, something that succinctly expresses what the children need to practice and do, would be more effective. Just like we remember advertising slogans and mottos,  a digital citizenship mantra might help our children remember to use technology responsibly and safely. We can help our children learn to:

Be kind, respectful, productive, whether online or in person.

Be kind, respectful, productive whether online or in person

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Lewinsky, M. (2015). The Price of shame. TedTalks, March 2015. Retrieved from

Lewinsky, M. (2014). Shame and survival. Vanity Fair, May 28, 2014. Retrieved from

Ohler, J. (2014). Digital citizenship mantras, mottos. Retrieved from

Olson, T. (Photographer). (Year, Month Date of Publication). Happy female teacher assisting schoolchildren in using computer at school [digital image]. Retrieved from