“I’m confused about social networks.”

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD

Advice on digital citizenship for teachers 

By Carole Eipers

With an environment permeated by the reality of social networks, we have a crucial role as educators to offer guidance and to form students who manage their choices and involvement wisely.

If you are not familiar with the latest social networks, you will want to explore them. This knowledge will help you to assess the opportunities and the challenges each site may offer. We have to be careful not to be always negative about technology, because our students may be using it a good deal of their time. But it is just as imperative that we are not indiscriminately positive about what online life offers.

Social networks are not exempt from the Ten Commandments or any of the teachings of Jesus. And yet, of course, no one curates most sites for their conformity to these faith values. Social networks and other communication apps can be extremely antisocial. Ask anyone who has been the subject of negative remarks on Twitter or the latest unmonitored opening for bullying.

But our students’ classroom, in-person, social interactions are also in need of guidance. When we have partners or group work, mixing students each time helps to develop understanding.

TO DO » Ask your students about the social networks they use. Look at the sites, and then give your students three rules to help them navigate in ways that are true to their faith. Ask them to suggest other rules too.

TO PRAY » Blessed Trinity, you are the model of loving relationships. Whatever means I use to relate to others, make me always loving and respectful.

Excerpted from Pep Talks for Catholic Teachers: Encouragement, Support, Guidance, by Carole Eipers, DMin. Copyright year. Published by Twenty-Third Publications (twentythirdpublications.com). Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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