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Digital Citizenship

Welcome parents to the Digital Citizenship website!

Kids today are surrounded by technology, they use it everyday to learn and to play. However, are they using it appropriately? Digital citizenship is a concept that targets the proper use of technology. Our children today are citizens of the digital world, and need to learn how to be safe and how to make good choices when it comes to the use of technology. For more information about Digital Citizenship, visit Mark Ribble's web site.

Digital Citizenship and Kids

How much do students know about Digital Citizenship? This is a question the tech teachers asked themselves early in this school year. Students from grades K-5 took an online survey with questions related to various Digital Citizenship topics. It was interesting to see their answers. In general, it seems that students are aware of what makes a good digital citizen. Click here to see the complete results.


Digital Citizenship


Topic I - What in the World is Digital Citizenship?

Kids today are surrounded by technology, they use it everyday to learn and to play. However, are they using it appropriately? Digital citizenship is a concept that targets the proper use of technology. Our children today are citizens of the digital world, and need to learn how to be safe and how to make good choices when it comes to the use of technology. For more information about Digital Citizenship, visit Mark Ribble's web site.

What can parents do?

  • Stay informed.
  • Remind kids to think before they post.
  • Make sure children use strict privacy settings.
  • Be aware of what and who kids are connected to.
  • Agree with your child what is okay to publish online.
  • Fill out the media agreement sheet together with your child:
Last updated: January 1, 2014


Topic II - Be Wise, Protect Yourself


Having a strong password is the first step you can take towards your child’s online safety. What is a strong password? In this article you'll find important information on how to set up and manage strong passwords. In short, a strong password is one that is hard to guess. Here’s a tool to help you create strong passwords.

Some tips for passwords include:

  • Never give out your password to anyone (except to parents).
  • Don’t just use one password.
  • Create passwords that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess.
  • Make the password at least 8 characters long. The longer the better. Longer passwords are harder for thieves to crack.
  • Include numbers, capital letters and symbols.
  • Don't use common or dictionary words.
  • Don't keep your written password where it can be seen.


Phishing is a technique that is used to trick you by making you think you are in a trusted web page, but in reality, you are connecting to another page, in which they will most likely try to collect personal and private information from you, that may compromise your identity or your financial situation.
These scams happen through emails, links, or pop-ups. Beware of unexpected messages you receive regarding your bank account, or someone asking for your password. Some scams will make you buy something, like very cheap iPads, that will never be sent to you.
Your identity can be at risk, in what is called Identity Theft, through phishing, hacking, or plain careless behaviors. Try this online game to learn to identify when you may be in danger.

Learn more about phishing and scams and how to avoid them, through the OnGuardOnline web site. Play an online game to help you identify phishing situations.

Learn more about phishing and scams and how to avoid them.

Parental Control

It is always recommended that as parents you are aware of what your child is doing at his computer or device. However, you can set controls and safety modes on what he is using. Here you will find a list of how-to videos.


Use YouTube's Safety Mode if you don't want to see videos that contain potentially objectionable material on YouTube.

Secure Gmail Account

Monitor and filter what your child receives through his gmail account.

Google Safe Search

Determine how much explicit sexual content (web pages, images, and videos) your child can obtain as results. You can set the Google Search to Strict filtering.

Parental Controls on a Mac

Control and monitor your child’s use on a Mac computer. Determine what applications he can use, how much internet connection time he can have, and more.

Parental Controls on the iPhone

Make apps, Internet browsing or downloading options not available to your child, by setting restrictions on his iPhone. This also works the same for iPods and iPads.

Last updated: January 1, 2014


Topic III - How to Survive in the Digital World

Children’s Privacy

The primary goal of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. This privacy protection act was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet. These rules apply to operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. Read more…(also available in Spanish)

Social media and Privacy settings

Kids love to socialize, but keep in mind that social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are intended for children age 13 or more. We strongly discourage the use of these sites by our young students. However, In the event children are at age to be using them or have your consent, here are some steps to ensure the privacy settings for YouTube and Facebook. For more tips on how to deal with Facebook and your kids, download the Parent Tip Sheet: Facebook (English) or, Parent Tip Sheet: Facebook (Spanish).


Cyberbullying is a form of bullying, only it’s performed through cyberspace. This can happen through mobile devices, emails, social media networks, etc. Just as with face-to-face bullying, there is a bully, a victim and bystanders. However, cyberbullying can be much more widespread and become a really big problem with terrible consequences.


Netiquette stands for interNET etIQUETTE. This is a code of conduct for Internet users. Whether you are emailing, chatting, commenting, blogging, etc., in other words, communicating with others. Some common rules include:

  • Don’t use only capital letters – others will think you are shouting
  • Don’t spread spam – delete junk mail
  • Identify yourself – and sign your messages
It’s not so hard, just remember to be polite and courteous, even with your online friends. Here are more tips on netiquette.

Media influence

Children are exposed constantly to all sorts of media: through their mobile devices, television, movies, radio, billboards, Internet, etc. It’s all over! This is a very extensive topic. Please take time to read the parent tip sheets and watch the videos dealing with this matter from

CommonSense provides comprehensive reviews on movies, books,TV shows, and websites, to better help you and your children make good choices. What’s new in reviews and advice

Last updated: January 1, 2014


Topic IV - Copy"rights" & Copy"wrongs"

The main points of Copyrights and Fair Use are:

  • The author of any original work is the owner of that material and has copyrights over it and has control over what to do with the work.
  • It is illegal to use materials without permission from the author.
  • Copyright laws allow the use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, under the Fair Use guidelines.
  • To determine if you are within Fair Use, analyze these four factors:
    • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    • the nature of the copyrighted work;
    • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Fair Use Quick Reference Guide

Acceptable Teaching, research, news, reporting. Factual, important to education. Small quantity, portion is not crucial to entire work. No major effect on the market, user legally owns a copy of original work.
Illegal Making money from sale of work, don't give credit to author of original work. Very creative work (art, music, literacy, films, plays), fiction. Large or entire work used, the part of the original used is crucial to new work's success. Could replace selling of original, many copies made, used for a long time, made it available on the Web.

In general, up to 10% can be used

Motion MediaText MaterialMusic, Lyrics, and Music VideoIllustrations and Photographs
Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less; an entire poem of less than 250 words may be used but no more than 3 excerpts from a poet Up to 10% but no more than 30 seconds of the music and lyrics, alterations to a musical work can’t change the basic melody or character of work An entire photo or drawing may be used but no more than 5 images from the same artist, or when from a published collective work not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less

Here is an article on 10 myths related to Copyrights that is worth taking a look at. It answers some of the questions you might have on this matter.

For more information on illegal downloads, visit and download the parent tip sheets linked below.

Advanced Searches

There is a vast amount of information spread throughout the Internet. Trying to find the right information can result in an overwhelming task. Follow these tips to make your searching experience more effective, on target, and less time consuming.

There are different Internet search tools such as Google, SweetSearch, Boolify, however, they are all equipped with an advanced search option. Take advantage of this.

In short, follow these recommendations and download the parent tip sheet:

Strict Google Searching

Control the level of filtering in Google searches by locking the strict search feature. Here’s a video to learn how to do that. Remember, even if you don’t lock the setting, you can still adjust the filter to strict before your child performs an Internet search with Google.

Citing Sources

When including information, images, or video from another place, whether it comes from the Internet, a magazine, or a book, you need to add the sources to your work. This is also called bibliography, credits, citation, acknowledgements, or references. In other words, it is giving credit to the rightful owner of the material you included in your work. Even if you paraphrased or included a little bit, you need to cite your sources.
A special mention is made about finding sources through Google. It is not enough to mention as your source. This is the same as saying that you found the information in the library. Which book? Which web site? When retrieving data from the Internet, make sure you mention the web site where you found the information, not the search engine that took you there.
Here’s a useful web site that deals with “How to Cite Sources”. Choose the type of resource and fill out the blanks. Basically, what you need is:

  • Name of author
  • Title of book/website/article
  • Date created/edited/updated
  • URL
Remembering to always include references to your sources will help you avoid plagiarism. Download the CommonSense tip sheet on citing online sources.

Evaluating Web Sites

You’ve probably heard this already, “Not everything you read on the Internet is true”. Well, it’s true. There are many inaccurate, fake, or unsupported web sites, easily available to kids. The problem is they can’t tell the difference between them. These are some recommendations:
  • Look for at least 3 different sources before you settle for a piece of information.
  • Prefer web sites that end with .gov, .edu, .org when possible.
  • Apply the 4 W’s criteria:
    • Who is the author? – Who or what organization wrote or is behind this web site?
    • When was it created and last updated?
    • What is the purpose of this web site? – Is it biased, trying to sell me something, providing facts? Can I identify fact from fiction?
    • Why would I choose this web site? – Is it better than others, easier to understand? Is the information relevant and useful?

Visit this web site for more advice on selecting good web sites and download the Parent Tip Sheet on Research and Evaluation: Parent Tip Sheet: Research and Evaluation

Last updated: January 1, 2014



Useful Links

Digital Citizenship
COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
Common Sense Media is 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.
Media Reviews
Videos with Advice
NetSmartz tips for Parents
Vodafone Parent's Guide
I Keep Safe
Identity theft prevention information (contributed by Lauren)
Cyber-Safety Statistics Parents Should Know is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. This information is available in both English and Spanish

Recommended Search Engines for Kids

Quintura Kids


Common Sense opina sobre Facebook
Raise Media Smart Kids
Common Sense Media Agreement for Parents and Kids K-5
Acuerdo de Common Sense Media para Padres y Niños K-5
Common Sense on Internet Safety for Elementary School Kids
Parent Tip Sheet: Online Security
Parent Tip Sheet: Seguridad en Línea
Parent Tip Sheet: Seguridad en Internet
Parent Tip Sheet: Normas en la Era Digital
Quick Parent Guide on Cyberbullying
Parent Tip Sheet: Facebook (Español)
Parent Tip Sheet: Facebook (English)
Parents Guide to Facebook
Common Sense on Digital Life
Parent Tip Sheet: Connected Culture
Common Sense on Social Networking
Parent Tip Sheet: Respecting Work
Parent Tip Sheet: Music
Parent Tip Sheet: Smart Search Online
Parent Tip Sheet: Citing Online Sources
Parent Tip Sheet: Research and Evaluation

Last updated; April 30, 2014


Q. What do you recommend for controlling my child’s internet use?
A. NetNanny is a very complete application that can control many aspects of the child’s use of computers, including what and how much they use the Internet. It is available for Mac and for PC’s. If you have a Mac, you might want to try the Parental Controls feature within the System Preferences. Visit the section for Topic 2. Online Safety and Security for more information. Another option, as suggested at the MSHS parent meeting, is OpenDNS.
Q. How can my son modify his settings on Facebook?
A. Well, first of all, I must say, children 13 or under should not have a Facebook account. Visit the section for Topic 3. Digital Life for more information on how to modify the settings.
Q. What security measures is the school taking to ensure my child’s safety?
A. The school has a server that filters the internet connection, that is constantly updated and is looking out for inappropriate web content. A firewall and a proxy are also in place for added security. Additionally, Facebook and other web sites that do not have an educational purpose, are restricted in the Elementary Campus.