According to Common Sense Media, youth ages 8 to 12 spend nearly 6 hours per day using some form of media and teens spend more than 9 hours. Technology has greatly transformed our world including the way we educate and communicate with youth. Even adults use digital media in the work place and to connect with friends. It seems it is close to impossible to avoid digital media. Digital media is here to stay and we need to prepare youth to be healthy digital citizens.
Digital citizenship refers to the responsible and ethical use of digital media to communicate and engage in society, understanding the risks involved in using digital media and how to keep your information safe. Common Sense Media has identified 8 main topic areas that set the framework for digital citizenship.
• Self-image and identity – The way we are presented online may be different from our offline persona. It is important to help youth understand that their relationships and reputation may be affected by their digital identity.
The opioid/prescription pain medication epidemic is already a very serious and problematic issue in the United States. Now there is an added danger for those who take prescriptions drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor and provided to them by a pharmacy.
Over the last year, there has been a dramatic increase in the production and sale of counterfeit prescription drugs as well as the pill press machines used to make the counterfeit pills. These machines are reaching the US border in record numbers.
1 in 5 youth have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral health disorder (National Alliance on Mental Illness). While some experiences or activities can promote mental health and well-being, others have the potential to hinder our wellness. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, social media has the potential to negatively affect the mental well-being of young kids and teens. Adolescence is an important period of growth and development. There is no doubt that technology plays a major role in the lives of our youth. As such, it is important that we pay attention to how technology affects them.
Modern teens are learning to do most of their communication online or via text messaging. When we learn to do most of our communication looking at a screen instead of another person, we miss out on very critical social skills, such as the art of talking, relating to people face to face (reading body language) and navigating social negotiations. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, virtual interactions come with less risk for some teens, resulting in increased anxiety during real-life social interactions.