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The Tech Catapult: Christian Digital Citizenship

October 14, 2016
By Mark Steenstra

Welcome to the the Tech Catapult, designed to catapult you into the technology age in Crusader fashion!

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about Digital Citizenship. Digital citizenship is a term used to describe how persons should act while they are online. Calvin’s one-to-one Chromebook program gives teachers and administrators ample opportunities to help our students learn how to not only be good Digital Citizens, but also be Christian Digital Citizens. This includes the skills required to access and communicate online while behaving responsibly, safely and in a Christ-like manner.

As a Christian school, we hold our students to higher standards than the secular world. For example, a basic guideline used to teach Digital Citizenship is the “Grandma Rule”, which means one should not do anything online that they would not do if their grandmother were watching. As Christians, we’ve modified this to be the “Jesus Rule”. Social media and other online communications are a big part of the lives of our youth today, and Christian principles such as the Golden Rule, kindness, compassion, purity and justice are very applicable to our online behavior. Using online tools, we can reach many people very quickly, and therefore, our online behavior, good or bad, is often magnified.

In addition, the content we access online as Christians should conform to our Christian principles. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.“ Clearly much of the content on the Internet does not fall within that category. The choices our children make when they are online can affect them for the rest of their lives.

As we partner with home and church, we ask that everyone does their part in teaching our students Christian Digital Citizenship. These resources from Common Sense Media can help you learn more about Digital Citizenship and how to teach it to your children: www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence

Stay tuned for another Tech Catapult blog in a few more weeks.