Dartmouth Middle students explore the negative impacts of technology use

Sep 23, 2016

Dartmouth Middle School rolled out a red carpet for students on September 22, the night sixth graders showcased student-made, one-minute public service announcements regarding technology use.

Dartmouth Middle School Librarian Laura Gardner had the 24 students in her library skills class create PSAs last spring for a lesson on video technology and digital citizenship. Digital citizenship includes lessons on online etiquette, how to protect online reputations, and how to stay safe online, explained Gardner.

“Digital citizenship is something we are required to teach in Massachusetts,” Gardner said. "It helps students understand how their actions online can affect their lives in a negative way if they're not careful. It’s an important topic for students because they’re on devices all the time."

Student groups brainstormed, wrote dialog, filmed, edited, and produced six commercials that were then available during the public screening.

Some students — including Julia Gilchrest, Katie Smith, Sara Medeiros and Kaitlyn DaSilva — used humor to bring attention to technology-related issues. Their clip made use of the school’s green screen and highlighted differences between the online world and reality in a style similar to that of a television infomercial.

Gabriella Santos, Ava Ashton, Sarah Lopes, and Maria El-Tom took a more serious tone when they showed a teen bullied online and a fadeout that implied the student had taken her own life. The video was meant to depict the seriousness of cyberbullying and teen suicide.

The event also featured a showing of the film “Screenagers,” which explores youths’ relationships with technology. The film highlighted topics including cyberbullying, the overuse of the Internet and video games, and more. The film also presented tips for kids and parents on developing self-control skills and drafting a family agreement on technology use.