Digital Activism

“Technology gives kids power that people their age have never had. Let’s help them use it wisely.” ~Marc Prensky

This quote stuck out to me the most when reading through the digital activism information we were given for class because it is very true. This quote reminded me that as a future educator, I need to teach my students how to be responsible and use technology to improve this world.

Millennials believe that ‘a person on a computer, being aware and spreading the word’ is capable of sparking more change than ‘a person on the street, rallying and protesting.'”

This thought process is growing to more than just millennials. With activism moving to be more digital than physical, it is important to teach kids how to be good digital activists when they are young because they start as early as the age of 13 years old.

This was the case for Eduardo. Eduardo is the founder of @EndBullyinNow campaign that he started when he was 13 years old. Eduardo is a digital activist that helps people realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. His account has been given the credit of keeping people alive because they caught his tweet or Facebook post when they were suicidal, and it gave them hope. Eduardo shares his life experiences and gives others hope by being a digital activist. There are many other children around Eduardo’s age who do the same thing.

The 6 Activist Functions of Digital Tech explains the 6 concepts of what digital activists can do. The following is a list of these things along with a short explanation.

  1. Shape Public Opinion: Social media is a great way to find and share views with people around the world. It is very easy to create a group of activists who share the same opinion online with the use of social media.
  2. Plan an Action: This is the stage where activists formulate a plan to change the minds of the public. This is a slow process that needs to be thought through which is why collaborating with other activists helps.
  3. Protect Activists: Activists can be safer online than in the traditional rally setting because they can be anonymous or use false names if necessary. If activists are not properly protected, the online world can be not as safe as the traditional rally setting because online footprints are easy to track.
  4. Share a Call to Action: Social media is a great place to spread messages that call people together to unite for a cause. It is easy to click the share or retweet buttons on messages which allow for an easy way to spread an original message across the globe.
  5. Take Action Digitally: Everything we do online promotes something. A digital activist has many ways to take a stance and promote it. Some of these ways include signing e-petitions, emailing a congressman, changing profile pictures to a message that takes a stance, or even liking or commenting on a post can be a form of action.
  6. Transfer Resources: Followers are some of the best resources that can be gathered, and social media has made it easy to transfer them to help out other groups that share the same view. By teaming up, activists can transfer their resources whether it be cash or people in order to make a stronger stance on a cause.

These six things need to be remembered when teaching the future generations about digital activism. Since the future generations are starting to take a stance at a young age, I think it is a good idea to create a classroom stance on a topic and make all students digital activists under guidance before they branch out on their own.

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2 Comments

  1. Good post Barbara! You bring up several good points. I also think that it is really important to teach kids about digital activism. I think that digital activism and digital citizenship go hand in hand with each other because you don’t want to promote bad digital citizenship in the classroom. Because of this potential issue, children should be taught how to speak their mind in the right ways.

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    1. I agree that digital citizenship and digital activism go hand-in-hand. It is important for students to speak their mind, but they need to learn when it is appropriate to do so online.

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