Digital Citizenship Summit 2017, Session 1: What is Digital Citizenship? Why does it matter?

Session 1: What is Digital Citizenship? Why does it matter? 

After the kickoff from Marialice Curran and Mike Ribble (pioneers in the Digital Citizenship sphere), we launched right into the first session of the Summit.

The topic of this session was “What is Digital Citizenship? Why does it matter?” Digital Citizenship is a concept understood by many in the education sector, but often people outside that sector don’t know what Digital Citizenship is. We wanted to start the Summit expanding to add perspectives of people from other sectors (e.g., nonprofit, business, government, STEM, etc.) and include youth and parent perspectives as well. The hope is to invite people from other sectors to join the education sector to help expand conversations and impact culture around issues related to kids and technology.

Participants on this panel included the following. (We’ve included a brief explanation as to why each was asked to be on the panel._

  • Dani Sloan, president of the Utah Coalition of Education Technology (UCET) and a trainer in the Utah Education Network. She was invited to help represent an education sector perspective, and also was invited because she and her colleagues at UCET understand the importance of collaborating with others.
  • Kemi Olurinola (who came all the way from Nigeria for the Summit!) also represented the education sector and was invited to bring an international perspective and voice to the panel.
  • Carrie Rogers-Whitehead interfaces a lot with the STEM world in Utah and does research about Digital Citizenship. She was invited to talk to why tech companies and those who care about STEM should also care about Digital Citizenship.
  • Becca Linford is a high school student (one of the two students on this panel) who was one of the youth involved in helping plan the Summit.
  • Mark Babbitt (from Colorado) was on the panel to represent the business sector and also to speak to civic and other influencers and why they should care about Digital Citizenship.
  • Curran Dee is an elementary student who, working alongside his mom (Marialice Curran), has a lot of life experience with using technology to build connections across the world.
  • Jeremy Bond came from New York ready to talk about why and how parents can be more deliberate about their use of technology, and why they should care about Digital Citizenship.
  • Dina Alexander is a nonprofit founder from Texas who has caught the vision of why Digital Citizenship matters; she’s really taking the Positive Digital Citizenship vision and running with it in her nonprofit work.
  • Adam Moore is a therapist who is seeing the impacts in the lives of adults with negative problems of technology (specifically pornography) and he came to the panel as someone who knows that there is more to digital health than preventing the bad. He sees Digital Citizenship as a way to expand such conversations.
  • Keven Stratton is the legislator in Utah who sponsored HB213, the first Digital Citizenship bill in the United States. He values a collaborative approach, which is what enabled EPIK to help contribute to the creation of the language of that bill.

Below, you can find the full video from Session 1, as well as the individual speaker videos and the Q&A after the panel.

Full Session 1 Video:

Dani Sloan

Dr. Olurinola OluwaKemi

Carrie Rogers Whitehead, Founder & CEO Digital Respons-Ability

Becca L., Student

Mark S. Babbit, Founder & CEO of Youtern

Curran Dee, Chief Kid Officer at DigCitKids

Jeremy Bond, Publications Coordinator, State Education Resource Center

Dina Alexander, Founder & CEO of Educate and Empower Kids

Adam Moore, Marriage and Family/Addiction Recovery Therapist

Representative Keven Stratton, Sponsor of the nation’s first Digital Citizenship bill, HB213





Press Release: The 3rd Annual Digital Citizenship Summit to be held Nov. 2 & 3

The 3rd Annual Digital Citizenship Summit seeks to expand the conversation around kids and technology

Provo, UT, October 19, 2017: On November 2-3, 2017 EPIK Deliberate Digital will host the third annual Digital Citizenship Summit ( in Provo, Utah at the Utah Valley Convention Center. This internationally-reaching summit will also have a decisively local energy, with a dozen free community events offered across the two-day event.

Often discussions about kids and technology stop at the don’ts. The Summit will expand the digital safety discussion to explore how adults and children/youth can also work side-by-side to learn about and experience deliberate, positive uses of technology.

Thanks to generous sponsorships, students (ages 10 to college) can register for the two-day conference for free. Parents, educators, and school community council members can receive 50% off the regular price.

During the two-day conference, local, national, and international “burst” speakers will launch roundtable discussions around various topics, including why Digital Citizenship matters, how prevention science can inform digital teaching and learning, parenting in a digital age, and how adults and children/youth can work side-by-side to learn about and experience deliberate digital use together.

Free community events will include a free #UseTech4Good Youth Extravaganza on November 2 (6:30 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center; doors open at 5:45 p.m.) and 11 different activities on November 3 along the Wasatch Front (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; see the Free Events page for details).

The Digital Citizenship Summit invites youth and adults alike to come join in the conversation about a balanced approach to Digital Citizenship that includes the positives.

In addition to the many community hosts, partners, and volunteers, EPIK Deliberate Digital wishes to thank the DigCitSummit2017 sponsors: The Torrie Wheatley Schmidt Charitable Fund, The Benjamin Foundation, Zion’s Bank, Impero Software, Google Fiber, BrainPOP, Social Assurity, Digital Citizenship Institute, the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology, Janelle Webster, and Casper Pieters.

For more information about the 2017 DigCitSummit, please visit or contact Michelle Linford at

For a PDF version of the shareable Press Release: Click here

For a PDF version of the shareable Flyer: Click here

Cyber Seniors: Teens help senior citizens with digital literacy


Image credit: Sam Wood 

It’s so easy to talk about all the things youth do wrong with technology, but how often do we give them a chance and encouragement to do something deliberately positive with their digital skills? This is one of the key things we focus on at EPIK Deliberate Digital. Through facilitating community collaborations, we seek to invite more positive discussion and action re: kids and technology. We want to bring more attention to what it means for kids to be deliberate digital citizens — to use digital skills to make a difference in their families, schools, and communities.

For example, EPIK partnered this summer with UServeUtah (hat tip to Anna Decker) to hire an intern who organized two pilots of the Cyber Seniors program (one in Salt Lake City and one in Provo). We met Bethany Breck, our amazing intern, at a Civic Engagement fair sponsored by the BYU Civic Engagement Center. (Read more about the multiple community partners Bethany brought together to implement these pilots at the bottom of this post.)

Cyber Seniors is a program where youth teach senior citizens digital skills (anywhere from basic computer skills to video chat, Facebook, email, and more). The program is expanding here in Utah in significant ways. Two more pilots are in the works; SLCo Aging Services hopes to expand to 17 senior centers in Salt Lake City. Other organizations in Salt Lake and Utah County are also pursuing Cyber Seniors programs (or programs similar to Cyber Seniors).

Cyber Seniors is a win-win program. Seniors get help with digital literacy and youth get to experience the opportunity to be in the role of teacher. As they serve, help, and get to know seniors, they practice patience and develop empathy, and sometimes learn new digital skills themselves as they research and teach.

EPIK also loves the concept because we believe that the more youth are mentored toward positive, deliberate experiences with technology —  the more experiences they have using tech for good — the more likely it is that they will choose to be deliberate digital citizens (and encourage each other to do the same).

Witnessing the bridging of both digital and generational divides during this pilot program was heartwarming. Take a look at the video created by a 15-year-old named Sam who helped with the Cyber Seniors pilot in Provo. You can catch a glimpse of what went on during the multi-week project. Note that the video is yet another example of how youth can use technology in wonderful ways when given the opportunity.

We are excited to watch Cyber Seniors and similar programs continue to be implemented in Utah, and we encourage community leaders in other states to learn more about Cyber Seniors. Feel free to contact or for more information about Utah’s pilots. You can also call Cyber Seniors at 844-217-3057 or visit their website.

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More about the Cyber Seniors pilots in Utah:

You can read more about the Cyber Seniors pilots in Utah in this KSL article: Seniors get tutored in technology by teens (hat tip to Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, one of the community partners who also helped Bethany and UServeUtah and EPIK with planning and networking)

This pilot is an excellent example of what can happen when community partners are invited to come together around a common goal. It took a lot of people to make Cyber Seniors happen, and it took a dedicated resource to help coordinate their efforts. Following are community partners who are and have been involved in this effort:

  • Senior  Centers in both Salt Lake City and Provo
  • Housing Authority agencies
  • My Tech High (students from their program helped teach seniors in Salt Lake City)
  • Sorenson Multicultural Center & Unity Fitness Center via its youth programs
  • Google Fiber SLC & Provo (helping with computer labs and providing laptops — hat tip to Jacob Brace, Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber SLC and Maliana Tupou, Community Impact Manager for Provo)
  • United Way of Utah County
  • Celina Milner, former Special Projects Manager for the SLCo Mayor’s office, and director at Project Lead the Way, who helped with initial planning and networking efforts
  • Dr. Cory Dennis, professor at BYU, who helped guide research methodology and tool creation
  • Volunteer coordinators from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University

As a side note, Utah County 4-H STEM (hat tip to Shannon Babb) is doing a similar program that they created, and we’ve learned that the Salt Lake County Library in Magna (hat tip to Trish Hull) has done something along these lines as well. We hope to feature their work here in the future at or at

Utah County Hackathon – December 12



Hackathon icon


This is the week where kids and computers get a lot of attention — Computer Science Week. The Utah County 4-H STEM leaders decided to sponsor a Hackathon, and EPIK has been helping plan the event. (We’ll also be hosting two of the Big Think activities during the day!)

The event is FREE, and there are activities for kids of all ages, ranging from K-12. (Younger children (K-4) need to have an adult present to participate.) Classes are filling up, so register today!

If you are interested in volunteering, see this Eventbrite signup page.

Utah County Hackathon

Digital Citizenship Positives Pilot Launch (11-10-15)

We had a great Positives Pilot Launch meeting, facilitated by EPIK (in collaboration with Paula Plant of USOE, and hosted by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead at the West Jordan Library). The intent of this meeting was continuing support of HB213 implementation.

This report will include a brief summary of the meeting, including links to meeting handouts and outputs.

As part of the report, we also want to draw your attention to the newly-launched DigCitUtah blog. The blog launch includes a post (“Not about them without them“) that features the TEDx talk given as “pre-work” for the launch meeting. And, in the spirit of “Not about them [the children] without them,” we especially encourage you to take a few minutes to read insights and takeaways from John, one of the six teens who participated in the meeting (see the post “Empowered“). John’s post captures so well what the Positives Pilot has the potential to do to bring adults and youth together in a cooperative effort.

Meeting Summary (Meeting Model/Training for Creating Positive Pilot Projects)


Dinner and intros:

EPIK provided a light dinner, and we went around the room and did brief introductions. (For all of EPIK meeting agendas with attendee lists, see this shared Google folder.)


We were honored to have Devorah Heitner of Raising Digital Natives join us by video conference. She shared some thoughts about the opportunities of working with youth to make the most of our digital world. Michelle gave a brief overview of how the Positives Pilot project came to be, and what the objectives of the launch meeting were (to model pre-planning processes to help adults 1) practice listening to/working with youth and 2) focus deliberately on positive uses of technology).

Meeting attendees were given this handout, which outlined the two pre-planning steps EPIK recommends in a Positives Pilot project planning process. The handout also includes information for school community councils about HB213 implementation, as well as meeting facilitation guides for the following two activities.


Activity 1: Modeling a “Fishbowl” meeting with youth: Kathy Gowans (consultant who helps EPIK with design and facilitation of meetings) gathered the six youth in attendance in a a half-circle at the front of the room. Adults were behind the youth as the “fishbowl” — encouraged to listen only to the youth as they shared ideas about positive uses of technology/positive digital citizenship. (Adults also wrote down ideas for positives uses of technology on sticky notes, but did not share with the group at this time. We did gather these ideas and they are part of the meeting notes document. There’s also another list of ideas from the Envisioning Digital Citizenship meeting in June.)

Youth shared both where/with whom positives uses of technology could have an impact (e.g., at home, at school, with seniors or veterans, with young children, in the classroom, in a work or church setting, etc.), and also shared specific ideas of how technology could be used in productive and service-oriented ways in these different contexts.


Purpose of this exercise: This fishbowl exercise was meant to model how an initial Positives Pilot meeting with youth could go.

Often adults are tempted to jump in too quickly when working with youth. It’s too easy to slip into the mode of doing things to/at/for youth instead of with them. But the digital citizenship conversation needs the input of youth! Because of the authority differential that exists, and because of adults’ natural tendencies,  adults need to be very deliberate about really listening in a spirit of curiosity.

Also, in general, when it comes to project planning (whether among adults or when working with youth), the tendency is almost always to jump in too quickly to planning and decision-making before truly gathering inputs from councils/committees/team members. In the spirit of “Not about them without them” EPIK is trying to encourage adults — in whatever capacity they may find themselves — to consider how to deliberately bring youth perspectives (and team member perspectives) into the digital citizenship conversation and pre-project planning process.

What would have happened had we had more time: We definitely would have lingered longer in the mode of gathering ideas from the youth. (The energy in the room was amazing!) We also then would have guided them to cluster their ideas into common “buckets” or categories, so that everyone in the room could see the similarities and differences between the ideas. Lastly, we would have let the adults share and cluster their ideas as well, and encouraged everyone to note similarities and differences between youth and adult ideas and perspectives.

Activity #2: Modeling a group discussion with youth Fishbowl ideas as inputs: Participants were divided around three tables (approximately nine people at each table, with a mixture of both adults and youth in each group). Each group focused on a different cluster of ideas gathered from a Fishbowl activity with the Bountiful Youth Council that was held the week before. (Many thanks to Kendalyn Harris and the Bountiful Youth Council for letting EPIK join their meeting!) Those idea clusters were used by the three groups as a springboard for a group brainstorming process, where the group worked together to list possible Positives Pilot project ideas. Each individual in the group had time to read through the youth inputs and then each member of the group had time to share his/her ideas. All the groups chose a recorder for their discussion, and each recorder then shared the list of ideas with the whole room.

IMG_0213 IMG_0210


Purpose of this exercise: The intent of this second exercise was to model how a follow-up meeting with youth could unfold. Using the outputs from a Fishbowl experience (with ideas clustered/categorized), more brainstorming about possible project ideas can happen in ways that seek to take all the inputs into consideration. This collision and comparison and conglomeration of ideas can often spur thoughts and discussions that would not happen otherwise in a typical decision-making and planning processes that are often more concerned about managing time, fulfilling requirements, or other constraints. EPIK is encouraging a deliberate “front-loading” of the the process to flesh out ideas and insights before investing time and resources into projects.

It’s important to note that no decisions are made at this point in the process. It’s still a brainstorming, idea-clustering and comparison phase. Again, fighting instincts to hijack, control, or shorten the process is important. As Kathy often says, “Trust the process.”

What would have happened we had more time: There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, so ideas that were shared ranged from specific project possibilities to more general wishes and needs (some were almost like tech requirements). We would have helped the groups process such ideas further so as to start to get closer to actual projects that could be specifically by a classroom or other group of children or youth. We would have helped the groups consider questions such as, “Whom do we want to help?” “What matters to our group?” “What audience would we like to impact?” “What passions does our group have?” [And we probably could have more clearly folded such questions as guides into the instructions.] Getting to the “why” of ideas is as important, if not more so, than the “what”s. Still, the kind of brainstorming that took place could have easily been guided into more discussion, asking people to consider what might be spurring some of the more general ideas, and translating general wishes, goals, and desires into tangible project ideas.

We also would have helped people think about how something that seems technical on the outset (like ideas for app functionality) could actually reflect unmet human needs (e.g., “I wish there was an app that could shut my parents’ phone off). Discussions could have been mediated around what such thoughts can tell us about the opportunities and challenges of living in a digital world, as well as some of the “why”s that are on people’s minds.


We only had a few minutes to gather insights and impressions from the meeting. There were several questions about how this process could be applied to elementary-school aged children. We hope to help people engage with children of that age. In the meantime, Kathy reiterated the concept of “Trust the process.”

What we would have done had we had more time: We would have let both adults and youth decompress more from the whole process. We only had a few minutes at the end, and one of the teens noted after the meeting that he felt uncomfortable speaking up at that point. This was instructive. Even in a setting where we were deliberate about emphasizing that we wanted to hear youth perspectives (and we are professionally aware of the importance of creating a setting where children feel space to speak), the natural dynamic of adults speaking and youth stepping back appeared.


For parents: Ask permission before you post photos of your kids

school pictures Studio C

In Utah, there is a comedy sketch show that is pretty popular. It’s called Studio C. Perhaps you have heard of it.

One of the sketches (one that is almost more painful than funny) captures well how most of us have felt (adults) or feel (youth) about school photos. (The same could probably be said of driver license pictures. And actually, they do mention driver’s licenses in the sketch….)

Devorah Heitner, a media historian and creator of the organization Raising Digital Natives, takes this almost-universal negative emotion around school pictures, and makes a bold invitation to parents regarding posting photos on social:

“I want you to try something radical. Right now. If you have a kid who is 9 or older, do not share another picture of her. That is, until you ask her permission.”

Read more in Devorah’s post about what asking permission to post can teach your kids.

This is a simple example of how parents can practice the principle of “Not about them without them.”


Issue Mapping – Kearns Youth Council

One of the principles we at EPIK try to stress as we talk with community members about raising children in a digital world is “Not about them without them.” We don’t want to just unite community leaders to do something for or about children and youth, but to do something with children and youth. Youth should be involved in the community conversations and in the process of creating a vision for the future. They are the future!

Every time we meet with youth, our commitment to this principle increases, and its value becomes more evident.

We were thrilled to be able to meet with the Kearns Youth Council on May 8, 2015. We’d met some of the council members and their advisor, Kathy Larrabee, at a Salt Lake County Commission on Youth (COY) meeting that we were invited to attend. Many thanks to Kathy for arranging this opportunity.


As we have done with other youth groups in the past, we invited each individual to write the positives and negatives that come to mind as they think about kids and technology.

As has been true in the past, the youth brought valuable insights to our larger community discussion. What we notice in meeting with the youth is that they will reflect many of the same thoughts that adults have, but they always bring up ideas and perspective that are different.

kearns youth inputs1

kearns youth inputs2

kearns youth inputs3

Had we had more time in this meeting, we would have invited the youth to help “cluster” their ideas into common themes or patterns. This PDF is an attempt at grouping their input by topic/theme, and comparing and contrasting the positives and negatives that the youth council members shared. To see past youth meeting outputs, see Meeting Outputs in our shared EPIK Google Drive folder.

As we held the discussion in the last few minutes of the meeting, one of the key points that was discussed was a very specific experience that many students had had in one of their classes. The teacher of this class had been a favorite…until he started using Google Chromebooks in his class. Students commented on how now he doesn’t engage students or help them like he did before.

This was not something we would have anticipated hearing, and we think it is something that deserves closer attention and more discussion among educators and administrators (and providers of technology education products).

This simple yet important discussion also illustrates the value of asking youth for their input. We should not be creating or implementing products or policies or programs without involving those who will be using them. The youth have so much to offer!


kearns youth insights and impressions