Insta-Fame, Sellouts, and Selfies: New Digital Bytes Topics for Teens

Announcing eight new topics to help teens explore and analyze their digital lives.

October 21, 2015
Brisa Ayub Senior Content Producer
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, Out-of-School Learning

How do you make something like digital tracking, product placement, or consumerism fun and compelling to learn about? How do you encourage students to examine a daily behavior like taking selfies and think about its psychological effects? Better yet, how can you get a teen to think deeply about how gender roles in the mass media influence their relationships and self-esteem?

Give your students the freedom to explore all of these topics in an intriguing and explorative way. Common Sense's Digital Bytes, a teen-facing program, does just that. Digital Bytes teaches teens digital citizenship through topic-focused "bytes" -- student-directed, media-rich activities that tackle real-world dilemmas. Teens learn from the experiences of their peers, then create collaborative projects with a library of new tools. Digital Bytes allows teens to voice their ideas for making smart, safe choices online.

These eight new "bytes" are sure to entice and inspire students to think about how their digital lives are affecting them in the here and now:

Instafamous -- Take a deep dive into how social media has changed the concept of "celebrity" and what implications this has on a digital audience. Teens investigate the complex world of online superstardom and attempt to debunk the myths of the glitz and glamour.


Gender and the Media -- Students turn a critical eye to depictions of gender in the media as they analyze the messages they see every day. Activities encourage teens to question how media messages can perpetuate traditional gender stereotypes and the impact this can have on a developing self-image.


Selling Out -- Help students deconstruct the ways marketers and advertisers use media to influence what we buy. Thought-provoking videos with discussion questions give students a pathway to formulate their own opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of advertising.


News Literacy -- Students explore how new forms of technology have changed the very skills needed to evaluate and analyze the news. With the explosion of citizen journalism and blogging, it's critically important for students to be able to determine the reliability and credibility of information sources.


The Power of LIKES -- How do our online preferences generate data that companies and individuals can use for profit? Compelling videos, discussion prompts, and activities help teens uncover exactly what happens behind the screen when they "like" something online.


Disconnected -- Take a closer look at what it really means to cultivate a balanced digital diet. Students are invited to explore new tools like OEX Circle, an app that looks to help bridge the behavior gap between our phones and the world around us, or Moment, an app that tracks how much we use our device in a given day.


Myselfie, Myself -- Ready to have your students examine their generation’s obsession over getting the most "likes"? Teens have the opportunity to discuss how this fixation affects their day-to-day behavior and look at what determines their own tipping points.


Micro-Lingo -- Examine questions such as how technology is changing the way we communicate and whether texting is redefining how our brains process information. Students can take a closer look at how the development of emoticons may be influencing our emotional ability to connect with others.


Digital Bytes is the perfect addition to any digital citizenship diet. And with these eight new "bytes," students will have plenty to explore to cultivate their digital palates. Be sure to check it out!


Taylor Williams
Technology coordinator
International Christian School

My Learning Tech team has just starting reviewing the Digital Bytes and it is Great!  This is going to fit really well into our digital citizenship plans within our middle school (especially with our 8th grade students.