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Developing digital resilience: An educational intervention improves elementary students’ response to digital challenges


The central role of technologies like social media and smartphones in children’s lives means that learning to navigate the digital world is now a core developmental task for elementary school students. While access to the Internet affords children the potential to find connections at scale, it can also expose them to potential threats like privacy violations and online aggression. In this study, we report on the results of an educational intervention that aimed to improve students’ ability to respond adaptively to these challenges - a concept we discuss as digital resilience. The intervention was co-designed with the non-profit organization My Digital Tat2 and administered to 566 elementary school students. Results showed that the intervention improved students’ digital skills, self-efficacy with technology, intentions of being an upstander to support peers online, and willingness to seek help for difficult situations from trusted adults. Compared to their baseline, students were not only better prepared to evaluate digital information and stand up for themselves online, but also more willing to give and receive support for digital challenges. Our results speak to the potential for research-practice partnerships to create developmentally appropriate interventions that equip students with the skills, self-efficacy, and support structures needed to harness the benefits of technologies, while being informed and resilient to its dangers.

Angela Y. Lee
Jeffrey T. Hancock
Computers and Education Open
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