This weekend my husband and I celebrated our anniversary at this fancy-schmancy restaurant. (We were WAY out of our element!) I couldn’t help but notice this family that came and sat next to us after our appetizers arrived. They came with their 2 young children. In 20 minutes, not one word was exchanged between any of them (except for the 1-year-old who kept shouting at his dad). Mom and dad sat across the table from each other texting away.
Two thoughts came to my mind as I sat there watching them:1) Mind your manners! It’s a shame these days how people are prioritizing digital conversations when a face-to-face human contact conversation is sitting right in front of them! 2) Those young kids are growing up thinking that is okay! Then, the cycle just repeats itself and those kids end up doing the same thing as they age.
So how do we break the cycle?
By teaching digital etiquette.
Just as we teach our kids (or students) to say please and thank you and not to run in the hallways, we must also educate them so they know what is appropriate and what is not in the digital world.
Our school is going 1:1 in the high school next year. I have heard some of the parent community rumbling about how now that it’s going 1:1 the kids will be living and breathing their computer and lose touch with human contact and conversation.
Now, of course the students will not be ONLY working on their computers in each class. Teachers are bright; teachers will still have the kids discussing and analyzing in small and large groups. HOWEVER, it is imperative that schools place VALUE on educating students on etiquette and equipping them with digital citizenship skills. In order to do this, time and effort must be spent. Some things must come off the plates of teachers in order to do this. But, in my opinion, it must happen if we really want to live up to our school vision of creating effective 21st century learners.