Hector’s World began as education about online safety but has evolved out of necessity into something more holistic – digital citizenship.
We have identified four different areas of knowledge a young child needs online today:
- Digital literacy
- Media literacy
- Online safety and security (cybersafety)
- Information literacy
In the younger years there is a tremendous amount of overlap in each of these topics. For example, teaching young children good searching skills when doing homework would have elements of each of the above disciplines. Digital Citizenship education might include:
- What a search engine is, how it works and good search practices (digital literacy)
- How to filter and target searches to avoid unwanted content and malware (online safety and security)
- How to evaluate the possible bias of information found online (media literacy)
- How to validateand acknowledge a source (information literacy)
As children mature, they require more specialised information in each of these subject areas. Young children also need education that includes the values implied in the word ‘citizenship’ – the responsibilities and wonderful benefits of being a member of a caring community. Messages about respecting yourself and others, standing together as a community, celebrating diversity and respecting difference are as valid online as they are offline.
A growing number of children will begin exploring the internet and using digital devices before they begin learning at an early childhood centre or primary school. That’s why at Hector’s World we suggest starting this digital citizenship education with first access to the online world.