Today, NetSupport and The Digital Citizenship Institute announced a strategic partnership aimed to help schools and their stakeholders reignite the digital citizenship discussion and enhance their approach.

With children between the ages of 8 and 15 spending more than twice as much time online at school and at home as they did a decade ago, now more than ever there is a need for young people to be educated about positive digital interactions and how to behave responsibly online – as well as ensuring schools and guardians are providing a safe learning environment.

Working together, the partnership will leverage the benefits that come with The Digital Citizenship Institute’s expertise in changing the narrative from a reactive to a more proactive approach and NetSupport’s 29 years’ software experience helping schools and districts manage their technology and its users effectively.

NetSupport’s latest software solution, NetSupport DNA, helps schools and districts to promote a culture of good digital citizenship, both in the classroom and across the school, with its unique features. NetSupport DNA offers keyword and phrase monitoring tools, age-appropriate internet controls, concern reporting to trusted staff, and access to self-help resources. It allows teachers to demonstrate appropriate behavior while ensuring schools can stem the increasing instances of cyber-bullying, radicalization, sexual predation, racism and more – while complying with CIPA requirements.

“Often, discussions around kids and technology begin and end with all the don’ts. We are committed to changing this narrative from the reactive to the proactive where the don’ts become I will statements and the positives outweigh the negatives,” states Dr. Marialice B.F.X. Curran, Founder and Executive Director of the Digital Citizenship Institute. The Institute expands the digital safety discussion to explore how adults and children can also work side-by-side to learn about and experience deliberate, positive uses of technology together.

Marcus Kingsley, MD of NetSupport Inc., explains “The increasing use of technology in schools brings with it the responsibility to keep students safe. Unfortunately, many schools rely on a restrictive policy to achieve this and believe this supports and cultivates good digital citizens. Restricting sites does help keep students safe (in school); however, it doesn’t educate or prepare them for the dangers online outside a school environment. This opens up a wider debate as to who is responsible for this task, but in short everyone is, from teacher to guardian, which is why we hope that this collaboration will not just enforce the importance of the digital citizen message to everyone but also, educate schools to consider applying proactive standards to allow teachers to demonstrate positive digital usage in a safe learning environment.”

In addition to joint collaboration and representation at upcoming industry events, the partnership will also entail the dual creation of factual and informative materials to help educate the global education audience and mutual input in a community-driven approach for empowering students and other educational stakeholders, transforming them into 21st century facing digital citizens.