Lesson 16: Digital Citizenship
Common Sense Education | Unplugged
In collaboration with Common Sense Education, this lesson helps students learn to think critically about the user information that some websites request or require. Students learn the difference between private information and personal information, distinguishing what is safe and unsafe to share online.
Students will also explore what it means to be responsible and respectful to their offline and online communities as a step toward learning how to be good digital citizens.
As students spend more time on computers, they should be aware that the internet is not always a safe space. In this lesson, students are taught what information is safe to share and what information should remain private. Students will create "superheros" and learn what it means to be a Digital Citizen on the internet.
Warm Up (15 min)
Main Activity (35 - 40 min)
Wrap Up (15 min)
Assessment (5 min)
Students will be able to:
- Compare and contrast their responsibilities to their online and offline communities.
- Understand what type of information can put them at risk for identity theft and other scams.
- Reflect on the characteristics that make someone an upstanding citizen.
- Devise resolutions to digital dilemmas.
- Watch the Digital Citizenship - Teacher Video.
- Print out a good selection of male and female Cubeecraft Superhero Templates - Manipulatives sheets for the whole class.
- Print one Digital Citizenship - Assessment for each student.
- Review CSF Digital Citizenship - Resource List for more online safety content.
For the Teacher
- Digital Citizenship - Teacher Video
- Cubeecraft Superhero Templates - Manipulatives
- Digital Citizenship - Assessment
- Digital Citizenship - Assessment Answer Key
- Common Sense Education - Website
- CSF Digital Citizenship - Resource List
For the Students
- Think Spot Journal - Reflection Journal
- Digital Citizen - Someone who acts safely, responsibly, and respectfully online.
Warm Up (15 min)
This lesson has one new and important phrase:
Digital Citizen - Say it with me: Dih-jih-tal Sit-i-zen
Someone who acts safely, responsibly, and respectfully online
Personal vs. Private Online
If you have access to a computer, feel free to navigate to a site that might require this type of information, such as Gmail or Facebook.
- Ask "What types of information do you think are okay to share publicly online or on a profile that others will see?"
- What are some examples of websites where you must register in order to participate?
- Write the names of the websites on the board.
- What information is required and why do you think it is required?
- Information may be required to help distinguish one person from another.
- The website may keep a record of who uses it.
- Explain that it’s important to know that sharing some kinds of user information can put you and your family’s privacy at risk.
- Point out that you do not have to fill out fields on websites if they are not required.
- Required fields are usually marked by an asterisk (*) or are highlighted in red.
- Elementary school students should never register for sites that require private information without the approval and guidance of a parent or guardian.
- Here is an example of public versus private information:
|SAFE - Personal Information||UNSAFE - Private Information|
|Your favorite food
Your opinion (though it shoud be done respectfully)
First name (with permission)
|Mother's maiden name
Social Security number
Your date of birth
Parents' credit card information
- Explain that some people will actively try to get you to share this kind of information so that they can use it to take over your identity. Once a thief has taken someone’s identity, he or she can use that person’s name to get a driver’s license or buy things, even if the person whose identity they stole isn’t old enough to do these things!
- It’s often not until much later that people realize that their identity has been stolen. Identity thieves may also apply for credit cards in other people’s names and run up big bills that they don’t pay off. Let students know that identity thieves often target children and teens because they have a clean credit history and their parents are unlikely to be aware that someone is taking on their child’s identity.
Now, let's see what we can do to keep ourselves safe.
Main Activity (35 - 40 min)
- Spiderman says "With great power comes great responsibility." This is also true when working or playing on the Internet.
- The things we read, see, and hear online can lead people to have all sorts of feelings (e.g., happy, hurt, excited, angry, curious).
- What we do and say online can be powerful.
- The Internet allows us to learn about anything, talk to people at any time (no matter where they are in the world), and share our knowledge and creative projects with other people.
- This also means that negative comments can spread very quickly to friends of all ages.
- CREATE a three-column chart with the terms “Safe,” “Responsible,” and “Respectful” written at the top of each column. Invite students to shout out words or phrases that describe how people can act safely, responsibly, and respectfully online, and then write them in the appropriate column.
Now, let's really make sure we understand how to be a Super Digital Citizen!
For more in-depth modules, you can find additions to this curriculum at the Common Sense Education - Website page on Scope and Sequence.
- Have each student grab a small selection of papercraft sheets and encourage them to blend the pieces to make their very own superhero.
- Allow plenty of time for students to cut, glue, and color.
- Give students a 5 minute warning to wrap up.
- Separate students into groups of 2-4 and tell them to use their superheroes and leftover supplies to stage a scene in which one superhero sees an act of poor digital citizenship. Then have the superhero fix the problem … and save the day!
- Go around the room, having each student explain their scene to the class.
Wrap Up (15 min)
Flash Chat: What did we learn?
Flash Chat questions are intended to spark big-picture thinking about how the lesson relates to the greater world and the students' greater future. Use your knowledge of your classroom to decide if you want to discuss these as a class, in groups, or with an elbow partner.
- What is a good way to act responsibly online?
- What kinds of personal information could you share about yourself without showing your identity?
- What kinds of superpowers or qualities did your digital superheroes have in common?
- What does Spider-Man’s motto “With great power comes great responsibility” mean to you, as someone who uses the internet?
Having students write about what they learned, why it’s useful, and how they feel about it can help solidify any knowledge they obtained today and build a review sheet for them to look to in the future.
- What was today's lesson about?
- How do you feel about today's lesson?
- What is a Digital Citizen?
- What do you need to do to be a Digital Citizen?
Assessment (5 min)
- Hand out the assessment worksheet and allow students to complete the activity independently after the instructions have been well explained.
- This should feel familiar, thanks to the previous activities.
Use these activities to enhance student learning. They can be used as outside of class activities or other enrichment.
Common Sense Education
- Visit Common Sense Education - Website to learn more about how you can keep your students safe in this digital age.
CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)
NI - Networks & the Internet
- 1B-NI-05 - Discuss real-world cybersecurity problems and how personal information can be protected.
This list represents opportunities in this lesson to support standards in other content areas.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards
L - Language
- 3.L.6 - Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
SL - Speaking & Listening
- 3.SL.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- 3.SL.3 - Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
- 3.SL.6 - Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
Common Core Math Standards
MP - Math Practices
- MP.1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- MP.3 - Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others