Give students the space to share their perspectives on digital citizenship topics.

kid's face on a phone screen with skateboard in the background

If you're a middle school teacher, you know that positive social skills are just as important as academic skills for young adolescents. Add to that students' passion for interacting with others through their devices and online, and it's clear that digital citizenship skills like knowing how to deal with digital drama and keeping online friendships safe are essential for kids this age. But working digital citizenship lessons into an already-packed daily schedule can be a challenge for most teachers.

For Digital Citizenship Week 2019, we're highlighting our Teen Voices video series with these quick discussion activities you can use to kickstart your commitment to digital citizenship. These can fit into a short, 15-minute window of time -- be it planned or unplanned. It's easy -- just show the video to your students, then use the questions to lead a class discussion! And if you find time to take it further, each video has a free lesson plan linked on the video page, complete with slides, student handouts, family activities, and more.

Teen Voices: Presenting Yourself Online

Students explore the benefits and drawbacks of presenting themselves in different ways online.

Discussion Questions: Why do people create and use fake social media accounts (e.g. finstas)? What are some of the results of having and using these accounts? How do you present yourself online?

Teen Voices: Who You're Talking to Online

Hear what other teens have to say about talking to others online. Students reflect on how to keep online friendships safe and positive.

Discussion Questions: What are some of the benefits and risks of talking with people online that you don't know face-to-face? What's one comment in the video you agree with, and why? What do you share with others online?

Teen Voices: Dealing with Digital Drama

Students hear teens give their honest thoughts and opinions on the topic of digital drama. They explore ways to cope with it in their lives or maybe even avoid it altogether.

Discussion Questions: What is digital drama? What are some examples? Why does digital drama happen? What are some ways to deal with it?

Teen Voices: Friendships and Social Media

In this video, students can hear what other teens have to say about their social media lives and friendships, and can think critically about how social media affects their own relationships.

Discussion Questions: What do you think are some of the benefits of social media? What some problems or drawbacks? How does/can social media affect your friendships?

Teen Voices: The Pressure to Stay Connected

Students hear what other teens have to say about how digital media has them feeling "hooked," and can then start to think critically about their own digital media use.

Discussion Questions: What are some things you like to do on your phone or other devices? Do you do these things out of habit? How do you deal with the pressure to stay connected?

Eisha B.

As Director, Education Programs & Development for Common Sense Education, Eisha oversees education programming and content strategy for the Digital Citizenship Program. She has over 10 years of experience working in the K-12 education sector, starting out as a middle and high school teacher, and then focusing more deeply on curriculum development, teacher professional development and training, and program evaluation. Eisha develops research-based curricula to ensure the digital well-being of all students, with dedicated efforts to helping promote a positive learning culture around media and technology within schools. Eisha holds a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in education from St. John's University.