An examination of digital conscience for teens and tweens

May 28, 2019 

The following blog post was written and used with permission by Andrea D. Chavez-Kopp, Assistant Director for Educational and Formational Programs for the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). We believe your family will find this to be a valuable topic to discuss at home, especially this summer, when many children may have increased screen time and/or access to their devices. 

The term Digital Citizenship is one that is very familiar to educators.  According to TeachThought, it is defined as “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.”  While that formal definition may seem ambiguous, essentially the idea is that what you do in a community (in person or online) impacts you and others.  Responsible behavior online makes it a better world for all us, while keeping the individual in healthy and morally responsible practice.  As many of you know, I speak a lot on this topic and how digital citizenship aligns so well with Catholic social teaching.

I’ve created this Examination of Digital Conscience for Teens and Tweens to help draw the parallels between the secular notion of Digital Citizenship and that in combination with faith practice, it can be transformed into Digital Discipleship (a phrase I did not coin…for more on this, check out the Digital Discipleship Network and the resources it has to offer.)

Digital Examination of Conscious 

  1. Have I been inattentive during school/mass/prayer/family activities because I was online?
  2. Have I made space for God in the content that I read/post online?
  3. Have I been respectful of others in the way I communicate online?
  4. Have I obeyed the rules my parents have created for me about screen time and internet access?
  5. Have I made fun of people, publicly or privately, online or via cell phone/messenger apps?
  6. Have I intentionally posted or sought out inappropriate content on the internet?
  7. Have I given credit to the work of others in things that I found online?
  8. Have I shown respect to my body in the way I portray it online?
  9. Does the way that I portray myself online reflect my faith?
  10. Have I shared photos of people or screenshots of conversations with others without their permission?
  11. Have I engaged in derogatory or hateful speech online?
  12. Do intentionally hide websites or online activity from my parents/teachers?
  13. Have I violated policies, laws or terms of use with my internet activity?
  14. Have I knowingly shared content that I believed to be false or unlikely to be true?
  15. Have I felt jealousy or envy toward someone else because of what I see about them online or have I intentionally posted something to cause jealousy or envy in others?

The next iteration of this work will be a similar list for parents and educators, as we have an even greater responsibility to model and support positive digital behavior.  Our first call is a commitment to take the academic and emotional risk of learning new things and venturing where we might not feel comfortable in order to better connect with and serve our students.

Read original blog here and feel free to connect with Andrea on Twitter @adkopp76.