Digital Citizenship Week 2019: Media Balance

A wrap up on this week's resources for students and families.

By Mr. James
Science & Technology
October 25, 2019

“We're all digital citizens, and the latest lens on digital citizenship calls on educators and students to use technology conscientiously – and with empathy – to help make the world a better place,” says Julia Randle, writer for ISTE. What digital citizenship ultimately comes down to is teaching students how to be good citizens online--by being respectful and responsible, just as they would in our classrooms or society.

Haycock celebrated Digital Citizenship Week this week along with the rest of FCPS. This year’s theme was Media Balance and Well-Being: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Your Technology. Our morning news show highlighted important information around that theme with smaller topics on developing healthy habits. If you’ve watched our school’s Facebook or Twitter feeds, you may have seen some of our tips to support your children at home in becoming good digital citizens. We’ve compiled them below as a resource for your families to support good media habits.


Students were encouraged to think about their own relationships with technology, their media habits, and ways in which they could make some adjustments. You can support this work at home with the following links (as appropriate with the age of your students).

Healthy Choices

Exercise healthy tech practices such as managing notification settings and turning off screens an hour before bedtime. Some ideas to try:

  • Consider making phone-free zones in your home.

  • Promote better sleep by disconnecting from screens at least one hour before bedtime and charging your phone outside of the bedroom.

  • Change your phone’s notification settings to minimize distractions or try some of these suggestions.

  • Visit Google’s Focus Your Time page for suggestions to track usage and manage your time on Android apps as well as time management suggestions for Youtube and Gmail.

  • Try some family mindfulness activities with GoNoodle’s Flow channel.

Parents can also choose to sign up to receive text messages from Common Sense Media with Tips for Health Tech Balance (for children ages 3-8). 

Creation vs. Consumption

How can technology be used to create original works? As an FCPS student, your child has access to a number of digital tools that promote creativity including Wixie (elementary only), Voicethread, and G Suite including Google Docs, Slides, Drawings, and more. These tools are available for students to create outside of school too! Encourage students to favor the active use of technology for creation over passive consumption:

  • Use Common Sense Media’s App Reviews to learn about your child’s favorite games and apps and what you might need to teach them in order to use it safely.

  • Students are also encouraged to experiment with computer coding at home. has activities that teach students to use coding to design games, apps, drawings, and websites.

Choose High Quality

Not all media is created equally. Support your child(ren) in how to select high quality, age-appropriate media:

  • Help your child become a critical consumer of media by discussing these 5 questions with them when you consume media together such as books, movies, and news articles.

  • Consider Common Sense Media’s reviews of movies, apps, TV shows, video games, websites, and music for information that can help you decide if the media your child is consuming is appropriate for them.

  • Check out this tip sheet with your child and emphasize the importance of choosing quality resources.

  • Try these additional tips on how to establish expectations at home around media use.

Media Balance 

Technology pervades so many aspects of our work and home life. It’s important to take breaks from it and engage in real-world experiences and quality time with friends and family. 

  • Have a device-free dinner and focus on connecting as a family.

  • Take on a Phone-Free Day challenge as a family and commit to leaving the phone at home when family members go to school or work.  Notice how your day changes and discuss the benefits and challenges together.

  • Have a family board game night instead of playing video games or watching TV.

  • Make a phone call or write a letter to a family member or friend instead of sending a text or email.

  • Spend time outside as a family and leave the phone behind. 

Thank you for participating in Digital Citizenship Week!  Take good care of your body, mind, and relationships. Enjoy the benefits of using technology in a healthy and balanced way.