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Citizens of a Digital World

This fall, our Lower School students have been busy learning what it means to be a digital citizen. Knowing that our students are growing up in a technology-filled world, Sinai Akiba teachers are busy helping them understand this virtual landscape.  
“This year we are using Morning Meeting time in the Lower School to discuss important digital citizenship values with students,” shared Doug Hinko, Director of Innovation. “Our digital citizenship approach is to help students realize that so many important values, rules, and social norms of our daily interactions can also be transferred and applied to our virtual worlds.” Students in grades 3-5 kicked off the digital citizenship discussions in October and November, focusing on the important discussion of personal information vs. private information and what they should (or should not) share with people online.  

For example, did you know that children under the age of 13 should not be using social media, email, or many other online platforms? It’s true, as it is illegal for most companies to gather personal and private information about children under 13 years of age. Mr. Hinko added, “As students navigate their digital worlds and begin to create a digital footprint that will carry with them throughout their lives, it is important that the trustworthy adults in their lives serve as positive digital role models for our children and to be there as a support for them as they navigate their way through their digital lives.”

Conversations during Morning Meeting focused not only on voluntary information that we provide online (whether it be while signing up for a website, typing information into a form, or in chat rooms within games) but also more nefarious things like adware, clickbait, and cookies all of which collect our personal information without our consent and without us knowing. “Things like clickbait can be tricky,” Mr. Hinko warns. “There could be a pop up while a student is playing a game that asks them to click on something for free extra lives or free gift cards, etc. Instead of winning something, these applications can install software that spies on students’ online habits.” 

The purpose of these important conversations are several-fold: To help protect our children's privacy, to help educate our students about what information is gathered about us, and to help them be more mindful about what information they voluntarily provide to websites, apps, and people online.  

“At the end of each morning meeting, we provided students with these important takeaways/tips,” said Mr. Hinko. Here’s an example of what was shared:

A SAFE Digital Citizen...

  • Keeps private information secure from unknown people, sites or groups.
  • Keeps password secure, safe and private.
  • Avoid “clickbait.”
  • Don’t post send or share  photos of you or friends online
  • Only share PERSONAL information with people you know and trust
  • Never share PRIVATE information with anyone (except a trusted adult)
Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center. A Sinai Temple school.