Jul 26, 2014
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Disney Star Tells L.A. Students 'What You are Posting Online Leaves a Digital Footprint Everywhere You Go'

Disney Channel star Raini Rodriguez, who is known for her role on "Austin & Ally," was on hand for the kick off of the campaign, which runs through next week.

Disney Star Tells L.A. Students 'What You are Posting Online Leaves a Digital Footprint Everywhere You Go'

Disney Channel star Raini Rodriguez helped drive home the message Friday for students to pause and think before posting images and messages online as part of the the Los Angeles Unified School District's Digital Citizenship Week.

"I ask all of you here today, being our future generation and our future leaders, in everything you choose to do to please be safe, please be responsible, please be honest and respectful and know that what you are posting online leaves a digital footprint everywhere you go," Rodriguez told students.

The school district has partnered with Common Sense Media, a national non-profit that seeks to help children and families thrive in the digital age, according to LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Haber.

Today's students were born in a digital world, drawing attention to the need to teach students how to best protect themselves from predators, gossip and online bullying, according to the LAUSD.

Rodriguez, who is known for her role on "Austin & Ally," was on hand for the kick off of the campaign, which began Friday and runs through next week.

"I personally would never say anything mean to someone in person, let alone online," Rodriguez said.

Superintendent John E. Deasy and the district's police Chief Steven Zipperman also helped kick off the campaign, which addresses the fact that kids are increasingly exposed to digital media inside and out of the classroom.

Deasy told the students that it is their right to use technology at school, including iPads and other technology.

"It's our obligation to be a partner with you to help you use it well," Deasy said.

Teachers are being encouraged to discuss topics that range from online bullying to sexting.

Deasy said the hope is that students will be prepared to be good digital citizens and college-ready when they graduate from the LAUSD.

Western Avenue Elementary Principal Dr. Shilby Sims said the week's activities are not meant to teach students how to take a "selfie" or use a hashtag.

"It's about establishing a common language and protocol for safety, respect and responsibility," Sims said.

The campaign encourages students to give their life some private space online. As part of the movement, Common Sense Media produced a YouTube video with a catchy theme song with animated characters asking students, "from your head to your toes, pause, think about it" when posting online.

The company is providing 20 other videos that correspond with lesson plans to help guide conversations with students about online safety.

—City News Service

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