HF-L Digital Citizenship Newsletter

October 2018: Relationships and Communication

Relationships and Communication

The internet is a wonderful tool - most of the time, right? It has expanded our world in many ways. We have countless search engines and applications at the tip of our fingers. We can manage finances, access GPS, and place orders remotely. However, relationships are affected by online communication. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have changed the number of friendships as well as the quality of friendships. Confrontation has also become easier behind the screen of a computer. As our children are learning how to make decisions, how to regulate self-control, and where they fit in socially, education surrounding online etiquette is very important.

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Interpersonal Communication

The image above shows the process of receiving a message and giving feedback when communicating face-to-face. However, if technology is involved, it takes away a level of immediacy and primacy. This means the communication is not happening here and now, face-to-face.

When we communicate face-to-face, the part of our nervous system that registers the feelings of others isn't engaged leading to a level of "Emotional Invisibility" online. Actions can feel removed from consequence or free from discovery. This is why those who avoid confrontation in person may be more comfortable engaging in a confrontation online.

How do we address all of this?

Learning targets that incorporate Relationships and Communication:


  • I can use kind, appropriate words online.
  • I know when to ask for help when using technology.


  • I can communicate appropriately online.
  • I can accept that other Digital Citizens may have different opinions.
  • I can recognize a cyberbullying situation.
  • I can identify who is safe to communicate with online.
  • I can apply the Stop, Walk, and Talk strategy when I encounter cyberbullying.


  • I can identify and follow the rules of digital etiquette in order to maintain good relationships with others.
  • I can respect the privacy of others when using technology.
  • I can recognize the harmful impacts of cyberbullying on others and take action to combat cyberbullying.
  • I can verify the identity of others online and determine if it is appropriate to communicate with them.


  • I can explain how my "digital life" can present benefits and risks to my health and relationships.
  • I can adapt my tone to avoid miscommunication online.
  • I can be mindful of the different perspectives and experiences of others when communicating online.
  • I can recognize my role in escalating and de-escalating online cruelty to others.
  • I can associate with others online who exhibit good digital citizenship and have my best interests in mind.

Classroom teachers and librarians utilize corresponding lessons that they have created on their own or found through credible sites such as NetSmartz or CommonSense. School Counselors also include discussions about social media in classroom lessons related to empathy, school climate, and conflict resolution.


While the above video is tailored to educators, parents can use these same methods at home too!

Let's remind our kids:

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Stay tuned for more monthly Digital Citizenship newsletters!

The theme for the November issue is "Self-Image and Identity."