Digital Citizenship Doesn't Take a Summer Break - Mid-Pacific Institute

President's Blog

Digital Citizenship Doesn't Take a Summer Break

Posted on July 8, 2014

by Dr. Paul Turnbull on July 8, 2014

Mid-Pacific is a destination independent school in Hawaii for many reasons, including our stance as a leader in the ethical use of technology for the 21st century. As a leader in technological applications in the classroom, Mid-Pacific spends a great deal of time teaching students about digital citizenship.

Our digital citizenship curriculum emphasizes empathy by teaching our students how cyber-bullying takes a devastating toll on children and adolescents who are developing their personal sense of being during a crucial time of life.

It is important to remember, however, that the prolific use of social media by children and adolescents can accelerate during the summer months. With decreased oversight from teachers, parents need to take a more prevalent role in monitoring their children's use of social media - particularly during the late-night hours when most adults are asleep.

"Vamping" is a sleep-depriving trend that describes the act of staying up into the wee-hours of the night, texting friends, posting comments or pictures on social media, or streaming movies or games. Vamping even has its own hashtag (#vamping), for teens to show that they are purposely staying up late and "owning" the night. This, of course, is a trend that should be concerning to many parents.

As an educator with access to developmental research, I know that kids need their sleep. And as my mother reminded me more times than I can count, there are more nefarious things than good things that happen after midnight. When those two things are put together, the result for adolescents who are navigating their social/emotional identities in a virtual world can be highly precarious.

I highly encourage our parents to speak openly to their children about the use of social media and putting limits on its use during a 24-hour period - especially during the summer months. As parents, we have to remember that the Internet doesn't need sleep or guidance, but our children do.

With the help of our parents, our digital citizenship lessons will continue seamlessly from the point we paused in the spring, and we won't see any backsliding in the ethical use of the Internet by our students.