Engaging the Digital Natives

Our seventh and eighth graders got a reality check today.

School Counselor Megan Bryant, along with some of our seniors, led a session on digital identities and issues of cyber ethics, all in the jargon of Middle School students.

They started in the library with several short video clips, showing them the nature of their own digital identities and the permanence of their digital tattoos. They heard President Obama give a warning about careless use of Facebook and other social networking sites. And, probably most powerful of all, they saw a trenchant You Tube parable about cyber-bullying.

You can view one of these, on digital dossiers, at

Then they went downstairs in separate classes and shared some of their reactions and experiences with one another. Our seniors really did a great job of leading the way, showing these students the sorts of things they need to be thinking about.

Todd Eckstein, Kate Holland, Lauren Hubbard, and Camille Morgan all have more clout with these thirteen-year olds than we adults do. It was amazing to watch the Middle Schoolers, rapt, while these older students were talking.

It wasn't an entirely comfortable discussion, nor should it have been. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. None of us has been online and not brought ourselves along, in wonderful and harmful ways. These students, so adept at technology, are novices like the rest of us when it comes to virtue. Sessions like this one are an important part of what we do in raising responsible digital citizens.


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