Some say the Internet is like “a world passing notes in a classroom.” But unlike the classroom, what gets posted online is permanent, highly visible, and easily traced back to an author.

In today’s digital world, students are constantly making decisions about how to behave online. Teaching them to be responsible digital citizens can ensure that the actions they take won’t harm themselves or others.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) can shape students into strong digital citizens by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to protect their own data and reputation and be considerate of others. Here are four ways SEL can strengthen digital citizenship.

  1. Empathy and Respect for Others

“Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.” Cyber bullying is a widespread problem that can have dire consequences. Teaching students to respect and empathize with others increases their social awareness and ability to consider the perspectives of their peers. This helps reduce negative behaviors such as “othering” and bullying.

  1. Self-Regulation

Because their cognitive processes are still developing, students can often be impulsive. When online, they may not always pause to think through the consequences of posting a statement or picture. Educators can take an important step by teaching students self-regulation and self-control techniques. Read this article to learn more and get started.

  1. Responsible Decision-Making

The Internet has expanded our world immeasurably in new and exciting ways. It has also introduced new risks. In our online era, students need to be taught how to safeguard their sensitive information. This pledge highlights smart choices students can start making today to protect themselves online. Review them as a class, and then ask students to sign the pledge.

  1. Relationship Skills

We all know that fostering strong relationships is important to student success. Because the Internet and social media have introduced new ways to interact with others, educators must translate relationship-building lessons to online arenas. Here is a poster created by Hillsborough County Schools that does this perfectly. Take a look at how it helps students determine whether posting a group photo to social media will not only hurt their own reputation, but also their friends’. (Tip: There’s also a poster for younger students as well!)

Today’s students live in a digital world that comes with many benefits — and also increased risks. Students need to learn how to be responsible digital citizens to protect themselves and ensure they are not harming others. Educators can teach digital citizenship through social and emotional learning.

To learn more about how to integrate SEL with lessons around digital citizenship, contact our experts at Aperture Education.