Schools and digital citizenship

Did you know that the ‘first use’ of the Internet is about age 5?

The interim report from the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-safety, High-wire act: cyber-safety and the young (June 2011) has included some startling statistics on young people’s use of the Internet.  The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s submission to the
Joint Select Committee on Cyber-safety (July 2010, No. 80, page 3) states the following:

“The ACMA’s survey Media and Communications in Australian Families (December 2007) indicated ‘first use’ at about age 5, but there is anecdotal evidence that children are going online at younger and younger ages.

The ACMA’s Click and Connect (July 2009) research found that as children age they spend more time online:

  • Children aged 8 to 9 years use the internet for an average of 1 hour, 6 mins every two days.
  • Young people aged 16 to 17 years average 3 hours, 30 mins on the internet every day.
  • Younger children are more interested in individual activities online, such as playing games—83 per cent of 8 to 11 year-olds reported online gaming as the most popular use of the internet.
  • By comparison, young people aged 12 to 17 use the internet mainly for social interaction—81 per cent of 12 to 17 year olds nominated social networking services as their main reason for going online” (page 3).

There is strong evidence that cyber-safety needs to be introduced into schools at a very early age.

In the following video, Andrew Churches from New Zealand outlines the six underlying facets that students need to understand.

Add to this the nine themes of digital citizenship and you have the makings of a great starting point to explore how to integrate this into the school curriculum.

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