Dear Hamlin Community,
Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, both unlocking extraordinary opportunities and posing real risks for young people. Issues that emerge from this 24/7 “connected culture,” such as cyberbullying, privacy lapses, and uncertainty about which information to trust online, are surfacing both in schools and at home.
To address these issues and help students harness technology for learning, The Hamlin School has been teaching our students how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly with technology. I December we were were recognized as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School for these efforts. This recognition is provided by Common Sense Education, part of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.
We encourage you to reinforce digital citizenship skills at home. Here are some tips from Common Sense:
1. Be kind: Try to instill a sense of empathy in your kids. Remember that there’s someone else on the other side of the screen.
2. Keep private things private: Talk about what’s OK for kids to share online and what’s not.
3. Don’t believe everything you see: Your kids should understand that just because it’s online doesn’t make it true. Not everybody is who they say they are.
4. Don’t overshare: Help your kids understand what it means to share online, and encourage them to pause before they post. Show them how to use privacy settings.
5. Stand up for others: Talk to your kids about cyberbullying. If someone’s getting bullied or picked on, your kids should speak up, report it, or reach out. They should know that they can come to you for help and how to flag misbehavior.
For more questions (and answers!), check out Common Sense Media’s Parent Concerns (www.commonsensemedia.org/parent-concerns) resources.
Fostering responsible behavior online is crucial in helping our students thrive in today’s digital landscape and harness the power of technology for learning, in and out of the classroom. The Hamlin School is proud to be part of the movement redefining the way our students interact with technology.
Mark A. Picketts
Director of Technology & Innovation