Using a quote made famous by Spider-Man, students considered the idea that “With great power, comes great responsibility” as it applies to online communication. Students had a lively discussion about the difference between playful teasing and cyberbullying, and we talked about how all technologies can be used for good or bad.
Classes watched a video about a real cyberbullying incident from Common Sense Media as a starting point for our discussion, and we talked about what to do if we became aware of a similar incident. Students also pledged to be careful communicating online and not let their behavior “cross the line” and hurt someone’s feelings.
In addition to digital citizenship, students learned a valuable lesson about website reliability: Just because you saw it on the web doesn’t make it true! Students were given a list of eight websites and were asked to determine which sites were real and which were hoaxes. Using their critical thinking and research skills, the 5th graders had to find evidence to back up their assertions about which sites were real and which were fake. Not only was this activity a lot of fun, it opened the students’ eyes to the amount of misleading information found on the internet and how to be more discerning about what they read online.