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Digital Literacy and Citizenship: Report from Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media is an outstanding resource for parents and I am proud to be a member of their board of advisers. Their new report, “Digital Literacy and Citizenship in the 21st Century: Educating, Empowering, and Protecting America’s Kids,” and they define digital literacy as the ability to:
1) use technology competently,
2) interpret and understand digital content and assess its credibility, and
3) create, research, and communicate with appropriate tools.
We are separated from the next generation by the deepest technological divide since the 1950’s, when the baby boomers who grew up with television had a very different relationship to media than their parents. And now a whole new world of technology that enables exponentially expanded categories of information and connections has made possible an unprecedented range of risk and opportunity The CSM report notes that today

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America’s children are growing up in the center of a technological revolution. Digital media defines their lives in unprecedented ways; they spend more time online, texting, watching TV and movies, and playing video games than they do in school or with their parents. The convergence of portable personal technologies, unfiltered access to information, and user-generated content profoundly impacts how children grow and learn….Our kids know more about this world than most of the adults in their lives do.

It can be difficult for parents to provide oversight and guidance. CSM calls for the creation of school curricula to include digital literacy and citizenship. The report and the specific details of its proposal are well worth reading.

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