For my ISTE Educator Certification course, I had to complete an assignment on Digital Citizenship. For the Citizen Standard 3d (Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy), I was tasked with the following:
Write and publish a blog post about what you learned and how your data might be used. Discuss: the age restrictions, if any, on the use of the website; what surprised you or concerned you; what changes you might need to make in your decision-making about use of apps and websites in your classroom, school, or district. (https://padlet.com/istedigcitpln/wexwp1556mzb)
I decided to review Twitter, Code.org, and Seesaw.
I am curious if Twitter ever determines that a user is under 13 based off of their activity and then deactivates the account or goes through some sort of additional age-verification process. Recent events have shown that Twitter will deactivate accounts en masse when they feel they are violating their Terms of Service, and since this is the first term on the site, I wonder if it is one that they strive to enforce with a priority assigned to the first listed term.
None of this age-based stuff really impacts my day, but I frequently reminded some of my students when I was in the elementary classroom that they were too young to have certain social media accounts, after they would request to connect with me virtually and then question me about it face-to-face. I think that just letting students know that there are age-restrictions on a number of popular websites is an important step in teaching them responsible digital citizenship.
There are no age restrictions on Code.org for use, but they do want you to be 13 to make your own account. Teachers can make accounts for students who are under 13.
Seesaw is the learning loop between elementary students and teachers in Albemarle County Public Schools. We first began our partnership with Seesaw during the Spring 2020 school shutdown due to COVID-19, and continued it into the 2020-21 school year which opened virtually for all students. Seesaw is a free platform that offers additional services for a fee—a fee which ACPS is paying for the time being.
Seesaw allows for accounts for students under the age of 13 when consent is given by the parents/guardians, like Code.org does. Which is good, because my son is well under the age of 13!
In this whole assignment, I didn’t really come up with something that I should be doing differently. As long as we’re keeping parents and guardians in the loop about the accounts that are being created for their students in the name of education (Code.org and Seesaw), as well as promoting awareness of policies like Twitter’s that prohibit use when under 13 years old, we’re starting off on the right track.