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By Dr. Cara Berg Powers

Published May 7, 2017, facingTODAY: A Facing History blog

I am of the first generation in my family to grow up with the Internet at home as a tween and teen. Granted, we had Prodigy and AOL, and I had to make sure no one was on the phone to get my weekly Baby Sitter’s Club story. Still, one thing that was true then remains true now: as a teen I was a lot savvier about online spaces than my dad. In fact, my dad relied on me to get our AOL set up when we got our first computer. So it may surprise you when I tell you that kids today—despite being born into the age of social media and interconnectedness—can be terrible at navigating this digital landscape.

The fact is, even as adults, in this politically charged climate, we can all probably think of a time when we’ve said something to someone online without considering that another human being was reading those words, targeted at them. That’s why it’s important for us to acknowledge that communicating online can be confusing for young people.

Middle and high school is not just where they learn about the world, it’s where they learn about themselves and one another. So how can educators teach young people about civic dialogue in an online world—a world that is hard to monitor—so they can learn to have productive and thoughtful conversations, even when they disagree on something?

Read Cara’s full blog, here.

Post Author: Stephen Lenane