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ALERT: Technology has changed all of our lives, but the law often lags behind. This month sees the coming into effect of the new Age-Appropriate Design Code to protect children’s data. It takes time for the unwritten laws or etiquette of life to develop too. Recent suggestions on Reddit suggested new rules for our times including: “If I show you a picture on my phone, don’t go swiping sideways.” ( —u/Soft-Problem) and “Don’t watch loud videos on your phone at a restaurant …” (—u/penguinmanbat)
Technology is great but it can sometimes be annoying, risky or harmful. What “unwritten rules” do you think people should follow when using technology?
Think about safety – eg. using your phone while cycling or crossing the road.
Think about politeness and good manners.
Think about wellbeing.
Think about things that might help society or the planet.
Do you think any of these unwritten rules should be made into law?
Technology tends to race ahead of both the laws of the land and the mores or etiquette that relate to its use. After the periods of lockdown and the long summer holidays when use of technology has been high, both you and your pupils may find it helpful to reflect on the good, the bad and the simply annoying aspects of their own or other people’s use of technology.
Encourage a discussion about how we can all help to improve our safety, wellbeing, and society as a whole by adopting good digital citizenship. You might like to focus on issues such as consent before sharing images of others, not onward sharing comments or photos that are unkind or potentially inflammatory, trying not to contribute to the spread of fake news and generally being kind and considerate to others.
Have you been driven mad by your children’s use of technology over the holidays – or perhaps they have complained about yours! Why not take the opportunity with the return to school to re-establish some ground rules on both sides of the parent/child divide to make life more harmonious in your household? Get the children involved in the debate so that everyone has a chance to contribute and feel invested in the decision making. Perhaps think about screen time, where and when devices can be used, and agree some device-free times in your household for everyone. Try to make it fun rather than critical so that everyone feels the decisions are fair and beneficial!
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