Learning Good Digital Citizenship
By Alec Hufford
"Digital citizenship" was the focus of assemblies for members of the class of 2022 on the morning of January 24, and for the rest of the day freshmen were abuzz with deep conversation and excitement in discussing what they had just heard.
Teachers Will Wolf '09 and Paul Cumbo '97, members of the digital citizenship initiative committee, led the assemblies to help students understand the essential connection between the call to virtuous living and their online lives. This assembly is the first step in the four-year digital citizenship curriculum, surveying for freshmen what being a good citizen – and an authentic adult man – means and how one's online life contributes to, or restricts, good citizenship.
Freshmen are taught about how technology can either negatively break down relationships, trust, and reputations or can positively build them up. From this understanding, the assembly addresses national trends regarding social media, pornography, and gaming.
"With the one-to-one iPad program, we are embracing the creative benefits of technology," explains Mr. Cumbo, "But, to do so in a mission-centered way, we have an institutional responsibility to look at both sides: technology's opportunities and technology's pitfalls."
Freshmen found the assembly engaging and were appreciative of the opportunity to discuss such important topics – topics they already are aware of in their daily, social lives with their peers and faculty. The digital citizenship conversation continues for the freshmen with three smaller sessions during the rest of year, for sophomores in their health class, and with juniors and seniors in their Catholic ethics and social justice classes, respectively.
This curriculum initiative is now in its fourth year and the digital citizenship committee is committed to intentionally addressing the growing problems that students face online.