New curriculum focuses on 'digital citizenship' to help students stay safe online

(SBG San Antonio photo)

Alamo Heights Independent School District has adjusted their curriculum to help students stay digitally responsible and safe while online.

"We think it's important to start at a really young age," said Sandra Shelton, Director of Technology at Alamo Heights ISD. "We want students to understand how to use the devices before they even get a hold of them."

The digital citizenship program teaches students from kindergarten about their digital footprint, cyberbullying, internet safety and security, online cheating and other digital risks.

"We provide computers to our students. Everyday, they have access to technology so we feel it's our due diligence to make sure that they have the tools that they need to be safe online," said Shelton.

Parents also have opportunities to get involved in "digital citizenship." Lajuana Hills Zanoni, mother of three ASHISD students, attends the monthly parent meetings.

"You have to start educating them as early as kindergarten. My kids have had friends with phones in kindergarten," said Zanoni.

Zanoni believes the team effort between the school district and parents helps the students benefit.

"Kids are exposed to so many things these days and it helps when you have a collaboration. collaborative effort, it helps them stay on track," said Zanoni.

On January 4, 2016, Alamo Heights teen David Molak took his own after relentlessly being cyber-bullied. After his passing, the school district created a task force to address ways to improve their digital citizenship and prevent cyberbullying. The curriculum is part of their ongoing initiative.

For more information on the program and how you can get involved, click here.

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