Digital Issues
Internet and mobile communications technologies offer a wealth of opportunities for fun, learning, and exploration. They also present parents and teachers with a host of concerns and worries. In this section, you can find resources on how to tackle these issues in a positive way.

The classic 1985 science fiction novel Ender’s Game is one of several books of that period that foresaw both the advent of the Internet and its eventual importance in society. While certain aspects of its portrayal seem dated – in particular, it more resembles the text-based bulletin board systems of the time than today’s graphic Web – one element stands out as being particularly prescient: the use of the Internet to allow youth to participate fully in society. While today’s young people aren’t using the Internet to take over the world, as the characters in the novel do, they are increasingly using it to change the world, and more and more teachers are using the Internet to bring civic engagement into the classroom.

Privacy Pirates

This tutorial introduces children, ages 7-9, to the concept of online privacy and teaches them to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information better kept private – and to recognize how this may change in different contexts.

CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of The Three CyberPigs

The three CyberPigs learn some important lessons about authenticating online information and observing rules of netiquette. They also learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion and how to recognize bias and harmful stereotyping in online content. 

Co-Co's AdverSmarts

This interactive unit is designed to help kids between the ages of 5 and 8 recognize the marketing techniques used on commercial websites that target children.

Privacy Playground

In this game, designed for ages 8-10, the CyberPigs play on their favourite website and encounter marketing ploys, spam and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf.

Allies and Aliens: A Mission in Critical Thinking

This interactive module for Grades 7 and 8 is designed to increase students’ ability to recognize bias, prejudice and hate propaganda on the Internet and in other media.

In the last year or two many writers and researchers have been trying to correct the common perception that young people do not care about privacy. While the public may finally be getting the message that teenagers do value their privacy – as they define it – the idea that younger children have any personal information worth protecting is still a new one. Certainly, most people would probably be surprised to learn how early children are starting to surf the Net: the average age at which children began to use the Internet dropped from age 10 in 2002 to age four in 2009 (Findahl, Olle, Preschoolers and the Internet, Presented at the EU-kids online conference, London, June 11, 2009); and, thanks to the iPhone and iPad, that number has probably dropped even lower.

I was recently asked by Jane Tallim to write a guest blog and seriously wondered what suggestions I could offer that would appeal to high school English and Media Studies teachers. We all know that teaching media is like trying to hit a moving target, and education lags behind revolutionary changes in new media forms. However, over the past decade of teaching both Media Studies and high school English, I have spent much time considering the intersection of new media forms with traditional English forms and have tried to build a bridge of understanding across time for my students regardless of the target. By focusing on the skills of deconstruction and construction, I believe the form of the text, or the new medium, becomes less relevant to comprehension.

The YouTube video “Ultimate Dog Tease” has jumped from 15 million to 37 million views since the beginning of May 2011. The “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” has hit 67 million views since it was launched on YouTube. These two videos have more followers than some TV shows. They’re fun, they’re silly and, like YouTube as a medium, they are worth celebrating.

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