This video clip is from a movie called, Doubt. I have never seen this movie in its entirety but I plan on it. In this clip the character is talking about gossip. His description of gossip is really powerful. It sends a strong message.

I’d love for anyone reading this to take two minutes and fifty seconds to watch this video, then read the rest of this post.

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Now let’s think about gossiping online. In a couple of clicks or taps a text, image, or screenshot can spread so fast and so far. Once it’s “out there” it’s impossible to get back.  The image below is from an article called: Going viral: How ‘social contagion’ begins and escalates. It visualizes the connections we have online.


Gossip online can be a form of cyber bullying. Here are three rules regarding privacy that are not often mentioned in etiquette lists. Remember to cover these topics when you talk to your children about digital citizenship and/or cyber bullying.

1. Screenshots: Always respect the privacy of others. If some sends you an email, message, or image, don’t take screenshots and share.  Whatever it is or says was directed at you, not the world at large.

2. Photos: Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with the world at large.  Yes, you may have privacy settings with who you share with.  However, screenshots are easy to take and share.

3. Forward/BCC: These functions are for productivity in the workplace.  They are not intended for spreading gossip.  To forward or BCC someone on an email is an invasion of privacy.


Digital Citzenship


Early on my research on the use of devices such as cell phones and tablets in the classroom, I kept coming across concerns for the students. I was reading, “How can we protect the students?” “How can we manage their access?” All I kept thinking was shouldn’t we be teaching the students how to protect themselves? Don’t they need to be able to behave online in a respectful way?

I finally found out there is a term for all that! It’s called, “Digital Citizenship.” To be honest I’ve hear this term before but just let it go in one ear and out the other.  Once I read this definition it all came together for me.

“Quality online participation should entail demonstrating respect for self and others in the digital common, including knowing how to adjust privacy settings, download music and other files legally, post messages that are respectful to the online community, and encourage others to practice responsible online behaviors” (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009).

I think as teacher, parents, and ADULTS we bear the responsibility to teach this concept to the children that are growing up in this day and age! When I was in school I learned what it meant to be a good citizen, to treat people right.  I learned that at home and school.  It’s my belief that the same should be done with digital citizenship.