May 11

Remembering to be a Digital Citizen While Gaming

By now you are all amazing digital citizens when you’re online; you protect your private information, you don’t post mean comments on other people’s blogs, photos, or videos.  You are careful about the websites you visit and you balance your time online.  Now let me ask you this…

Do you remember to be a good digital citizen while you’re gaming?

What I mean by that is, when you are playing a game online like Roblox, Fortnite, or other games where you interact with other players online, are you remembering your online safety and digital citizenship rules?

Scenario 1:

You are playing a game in which players can chat with one another and you make a new friend.  This friend starts asking you personal questions like ‘what school do you go to?’ and ‘what’s your address?’

What do you do?

Answer:  It is great to make new friends online, but we still need to make sure and always protect our personal information.  Don’t tell strangers where you live, what school you go to, personal passwords, your full name, etc…  It is never safe to share this kind of information online.

Scenario 2:

During a game you notice one character won’t leave you alone.  They are continuously attacking your player or making rude comments to you in chat.  You really want to be mean back but you are afraid to get reported and blocked.

What do you do?

Answer: Don’t retaliate (i.e. be rude back.)  Just report the players behaviour to the game and show your parents or teachers.  These kind of players will end up getting blocked (kicked-out permanently) from the game.  Better them and not you.  After reporting them, log out for a while and try again later.

Scenario 3:

You have been playing a game for over an hour and you still can’t beat a certain level.  You notice your anger level spiking really high.  Your little brother keeps coming in your room and distracting you and you want to yell at him because it’s his fault you can’t beat the level.

What do you do?

Answer:  It is important that we notice how our emotions are being affected by the games we are playing.  If we are starting to feel angry, frustrated, rageful, and irritated, that is an indication that you have played long enough.  That is your body’s way of telling you you’ve had enough screen time.  Turn off the device and go outside to play if you can.  Nothing clears away those bad feelings faster than fresh air.  And bring your little brother with you to play!  He was only bothering you because he wanted a bit of attention too!  When next you play the game you will be playing with a clear head and have a much better chance of beating that level.

Here is a video where you can see some of these online scenarios in play.

Your assignment:

Play a video game (Yes, you heard right.  Make sure you have permission of course!)  While you play, notice and write down a few examples of some of the positive and some of the negative interactions you have with other players.  If your game doesn’t involve other players online, just write down some positive or negative feelings you experience while playing (having fun, getting frustrated, fighting with your brother etc…)  Then you will post your observations in the comments on this page.  It will be interesting to see what we all experience.

March 26

Media Balance and Keeping Your Focus

For this lesson you are playing a short online game.  You will need to play on a laptop or computer.  It won’t work on a tablet or device.  So if that isn’t possible, just read through the rest of this post.

Play the Twalkers Game: Click Here!

This game teaches us when is the right time to be on your phone or device and when it isn’t.  Most often, too many things happening at once is incredibly distracting and can throw you off your focus and balance.

Think about how the game made you feel.  Was it a bit too much like your actual life right now?  Were you overwhelmed?  Was it difficult to play well and accomplish the required tasks when you were distracted?

I think many of us experience this feeling of overwhelm when we are trying to do too many things at once.  It is important to remember to prioritize and stay calm in the face of all that is thrown at us!  This video will offer you helpful advice on how to manage your time and keep focused.  Once you’ve watched it, I want you to post a comment on this page explaining at least one strategy from the video you will use to help you stay on track. 

May 29

Helping Students Find a Healthy Tech and Life Balance

I met with Grade 5 on Monday for a workshop about finding media balance.  They are only a few months away from middle school, and when that starts, a big part of the social life of a tween moves online.  But how much time they devote to social media, video games, and youtube, should really depend on finding their own healthy balance.  A place where they feel at their best.  A big part of that is thinking maturely and critically about the emotional impact of too much media.

It was great to hear so many students talk openly about how spending too much time playing video games makes them feel angry and frustrated.  Or about how they would prefer to be playing with their friends at the park then spending time on a screen.  It was also great to hear the positives of media… that for some, watching youtube helps them feel relaxed and happy.  Or making tic toc videos is a creative endeavour that they enjoy doing with friends.  It is important that children have the self-awareness to realize the impact that it has on them both good and bad, rather than there being a negative or nagging message coming at them that they spend too much time online.

Each student created a plan for a perfect day on paper made up of activities (both media and non-media) that would help them to feel their most balanced.  For each student this will look different and it is important that there is no judgement attached.  There is no right and wrong here, but there is a balance that feels right for most of us.  I should note though, that for students dealing with a video game or technology addiction, further steps and support will be needed to get them to that healthy place.

Ms. Thompson will be having each of her students write a blog post about a few reflection questions that I handed out to them.  I am very excited to hear more from them on this topic.