Our Kids – Digital Natives – Really?

Our Kids – Digital Natives – Really?

While looking though my tweets, I came across a few that really piqued my interest and somehow both came together nicely.

One of my tweets took me to a Digital Citizenship Google Hangout that was very interesting. It talked about the role of educators, parents and students and the part that each of them plays in cultivating and harvesting a good Digital Citizen.

Role of the Educator

We have all heard that our kids are digital natives.  I haven’t bought into that theory in the past and still don’t buy into it now.  All too often, especially as teachers, we think that students have the ability to complete digital tasks that we think should be easy to do.  Most of the time, we think that our students will be able to figure it out on their own.  Often, we then see that some students struggle.  Once these struggles were recognized, we as educators, took to our usual path of educating first, then applying the content.  Not only was this a learning experience for the students, it was also an eye-opening experience for us as educators.

The Parental Role

In the Florida cyber-bulling case, I have come to realize that it is also the parents’ responsibility to help educate our sons/daughters.  Is the responsibility solely on the parent if their son/daughter cyber-bullies a classmate?  Part of me thinks that it should be.  In my eyes, kids are not Digital Natives but are Digital Tourists.  As a tourist, you are learning the landscape.  You do not fully know your surroundings.  A tourist guide (a parental figure or education) is needed to help you navigate the unknown landscape.

We here at school are trying REALLY HARD to do our part in helping your son/daughter navigate this digital word.  We want you to do the same at home!  Please know where your son/daughter is going online.  It is our job as parents to keep them safe.  And if keeping them safe means that you know their passwords, that you are online friends with them, or that you follow them virtually, then so be it.  Also, it is OK to say NO to your child.  As I have said publicly during our iPad and MacBook Pro beginning of the year meetings, if your gut doesn’t feel right about something, say no and do some investigation.  I didn’t realize how hard a job it is to be a parent until I had to say NO to my son.  Saying NO is the hardest thing at first.  However, my 7 year old has now stopped his crying when it is time to put down the iPad and focus on something else.  Granted this didn’t happen overnight and it was a few weeks until it was fully accepted, it but it was short-term pain for long-term gain.

Please post your reactions/feelings or comments.


2 thoughts on “Our Kids – Digital Natives – Really?

  1. kidsprivacy October 22, 2013 at 8:26 am Reply

    I agree native implies they know more than the rest of us. Tourist I love, it captures how they still need us to guide them in the digital realm. Great post!

  2. Sarah Markwald October 22, 2013 at 8:32 am Reply

    Well said! I too, agree with the tourist metaphor. I keep finding that I need to spend more and more time teaching the technology- something I was assuming they would already know when they got to the art room.

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