Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Liz Kolb talks about kids learning appropriate online behavior from peers in The New York Times


In a New York Times article titled “How do you teach kids about texting? Bring in the teenagers,” an Associated Press author states that Germany has begun to rely on teenagers to educate younger peers about safe and appropriate online behavior.

The lessons that German students receive about proper media use also shift as they grow older, covering topics from cyberbullying to copyright issues. At the end of eighth grade, students can take a test to receive a “mobile license” that permits them to use their smartphones at specific times in school.

Dr. Liz Kolb explained that many U.S. schools have not similarly embraced peer-to-peer tutoring on social media practices. While schools have a federal requirement to teach students about appropriate online behavior, there are no peer-to-peer tutoring programs in the USA that can compare with Germany’s ambitious project. In fact, American schools usually rely on teachers to educate students about media skills, and their curricula tend to emphasize effective means of digesting news media as opposed to highlighting one’s personal impact.

“Schools are pretty much figuring out their own way because there really is no strong mandate they have to have a certain curriculum or specific goals,” Kolb said of the U.S. “It’s definitely needed and schools are seeing that it’s needed, they just don’t know how to go about fitting it into the already tight curriculum they have.”

Liz Kolb is Clinical Associate Professor

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