Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Raising A Digital Child

A Digital Citizenship Handbook for Parents by Mike Ribble. HomePage Books, 2009. I am reading this book to prepare for the coming school year, where we will be focusing on Digital Citizenship for the entire year. Each month we are going to focus on another aspect of this complex subject in teacher, student and parent education. Ribble's book is an excellent introduction to the basic concepts.

Ribble defines digital citizenship and breaks it down into the following aspects: Digital Access, D. Commerce, D. Communication, D. Literacy, D. Etiquette, D. Law, D. Rights and Responsibilities, D. Health and Wellness, and D. Security. Each facet is explored in ways that parents and teachers can easily understand and apply to their own environment. He writes in an easy style that invites thoughtful participation.

Ribble's message is so important because he is able to show us exactly how and why adults need to be proactive in taking leadership in teaching children the appropriate, responsible use of the amazing interactive technologies at our fingertips. If you have ever wondered about what is going on with music downloads or how to talk to your kids about the way they use cell phones (texting at the dinner table and all night long, anybody?), this is the book for you and your family or classroom.

Ribble includes helpful tools for starting conversations about right and wrong use of technology (technology compass activity), looking at a learning map for the cycle of technology use, finding out what your kids know in quick quizzes, lists of digital usage facts, clear explanation of blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc., and appendixes with definitions and a guide to popular technologies, and a family contract for digital citizenship.

This book is a quick read in spite of all the meaty subjects is covers. I recommend it for anyone raising or teaching kids and young adults.

As Ribble says, "Children need to practice digital citizenship skills while the parent acts as a guide. Without guided practice, inappropriate use of technology can occur without children even being aware of it... Parents need to be positive role models for digital citizenship so that children can follow their example. Kids need to see numerous examples of appropriate technology use to gain a through understanding of digital citizenship."


Lone Star Ma said...

Quite a concept. I think I, and most people, kind of think of kids as the leaders in this.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I know what you mean Lone Star Ma. They are leaders in the excitement of jumping right in and learning new tools. They are such great learners and adopters. But they need the grown ups to teach the citizenship parts and to think through the broader implications of community, civic responsibility, personal security, health and safety, and the like. This book does an excellent job of pointing out how adults need to be taking leadership in technology just like we do as parents and teachers in all the traditional ways. Kids can figure out how to turn it on and connect and use it, but they don't see the big picture. If we don't do the work of figuring that out and modeling the best use they are left on their own.

Ribble says it's like giving them the keys to the car without any training, guided practice or driver's ed.

Anonymous said...

Hye...thanks for your book review...I'm gonna start a research focusing of DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP SKILLS' awareness among preservice teachers...Now I am looking for the best instruments to survey the awareness...


Anonymous said...

Hoave you read this? I think you should do some research and write a post on this subject.