We reached out to eighth-grade student Megan C. for a young person's perspective on kids' digital lives and our new interactive game, Digital Compass.
It’s a whole new world for kids growing up today. Technology is available 24/7. Texting, gaming, searching, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine -- the possibilities are growing every day. We have the whole world at our fingertips with just the push of a button. This is all great, until it’s not anymore. …
Trust me, the digital highway is nowhere near as easy to navigate as the freeway during rush hour. The digital road is constantly changing. There isn't one road map to follow. To make it even more complicated, kids have access to technology without any kind of training. Most parents know even less about this new world since they didn’t grow up in it. If you make a wrong turn in the car, you can turn around or go another route. If you make a mistake on the digital road, the consequences can be devastating -- reputations ruined, future job or college plans impacted, and personal safety at stake.
So, what’s a kid supposed to do? It can all be overwhelming. We're constantly bombarded with social media, and without realizing the dangers, we can easily get stuck in a sticky situation. The unfortunate thing is that most kids don’t learn about this until the aftermath of a bad situation. That's why every school should teach digital citizenship, which helps kids learn to be safe, responsible, and respectful online.
We're constantly bombarded with social media, and without realizing the dangers, we can easily get stuck in a sticky situation. The unfortunate thing is that most kids don’t learn about this until the aftermath of a bad situation.
Common Sense Education created a powerful tool that teachers can use to help kids learn to use technology responsibly and avoid the pitfalls. Digital Compass is an interactive game that puts the power in the hands of the kids. It teaches kids about how their actions online can have consequences and rewards.
Students choose from eight cool characters they can relate to, each with a unique social media situation. Some of the topics include thinking before you post, creating a strong password, using and citing reliable sources, not giving away personal information, and creating a positive digital footprint. Students hear a story and make choices for the character along the way. As they progress through the story, kids see how the consequences of bad choices can add up or how good choices come with the reward of being safe online. After the story, there is a game where the students can practice decision-making based on what they learned in the story.
As they progress through the story, kids see how the consequences of bad choices can add up or how good choices come with the reward of being safe online.
Steer Students in the Right Direction
Since most kids learn best with hands-on experience, Digital Compass is a great way to teach students about digital citizenship in the classroom. The engaging animation and characters grabbed my attention, and the stories kept me involved and interested as I helped the characters solve their online challenges. The interactive format is much better than watching a video because you actually get to drive the decisions and see the consequences first-hand. It shows how one choice can completely alter where you end up, and makes kids realize that they have control over the direction they take. The tips students learn will help them make smarter decisions using technology.
Technology is here to stay, so give your students a game plan on how to use it in the right way. Help them avoid some of the bumps in the road, and don’t wait until they're in a bad situation to help steer them in the right direction!
Megan C. is an eighth-grader in Southern California who likes sports, music, the beach, reading, volunteering, and hanging out with friends.