Digital Citizenship from Spider-Man

Digital Citizenship from Spider-Man

“With great power comes great responsibility.”


Identity theft.

Misreported facts.


Poor decisions.

Ruined reputations.

Inappropriate photos.

Denied job opportunities.

For all the good that the internet brings, these are just a few of the dangers for people posting online. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Sharing a password, reporting a story before you have all the facts, posting that picture from your “crazy” night out, leaving a rude or mean comment – all so simple, so thoughtless, but with the potential to be so life-altering.

The click of a button.

Send a tweet.

Post a blog.

Upload a photo;

tools that in the wrong context or the wrong hands can have  catastrophic impacts. We know this. We’ve seen this. Many of us have lived this. So WHY do we see statistics like these:

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Whether you (mistakenly) attribute the quote to Stan Lee and Spider Man or its actual author, Voltaire, the sentiment rings true:

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Students take driver’s education classes and, if you’re like me, practice driving around the farm, before they take the to open road. We take these precautions and offer this guided practice because for as wonderful as cars and trucks are, they can be equally dangerous when not used properly. Even before we think about driving we teach our children about the safety procedures for riding their bikes – arms for turn signals, proper safety gear, ride on the correct side of the road (or not in the road at all). The same is true of the web. We must offer instruction, guided practice, and lead by example as we train our students to avoid the bad and harness the good of these powerful tools.

This site is home to numerous technology success stories. Twitter and TED Talks and Facebook and private and professional blogs are FULL of examples of the amazingly positive power that these tools can unleash. We must promote the positive and teach practical skills and lessons to avoid the negative.

So my challenge to you is this:

1. Don’t block, model.

2. Don’t wait until it’s too late, start the conversation early.

3. Help families understand their role in digital citizenship education at home.

Ready? Go!