Columbia County schools add digital safety lessons to its curriculum

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The curriculum at Columbia County schools is changing with the time.

They've started a new initiative this year called Digital Citizenship, which is focused on online safety.

"We have to teach our students how to be good digital citizens," Brynn Beabers, Media Specialist at Riverside Middle School said. "They're going to face different experiences than we did growing up."

Beabers says she sees the effect that social media and cyber bullying has on her students.

"They're getting validation from social media, they're getting likes and shares and streaks," Beabers said. "That is meeting a need in them to be liked and to be accepted."

It's why digital citizenship is now in her lesson plan and the curriculum of teachers across the Columbia County school district.

"It really should be ingrained in every day things teachers are doing," Nicholas Carroll, Director of Digital Learning said. "When a teacher takes students to the lab to log into the computer, they should be talking about password security."

They're getting lessons in sharing risky pictures and privacy and security all in the form of videos, games and quizzes.

"What do you do after you make a mistake? How do you handle a negative comment? How do you handle someone who says something not nice online?" Beabers asked.

If technology is the way of the world, it's a way to tackle the dangers that come with it head on.

Some of the tools students use are available and even tailored towards parents to learn how to protect your kids. Columbia County schools will also start implementing digital citizenship lessons into their parent/teacher nights.

To check out the lessons for each month, visit this link:
https://sites.google.com/ccboe.net/intech/21st-digital-citizenship