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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why combine Social-Emotional Learning and Digital Literacy?
    If students have strong digital literacy skills, they will be able to understand the evolving nature of online spaces, how to recognize persuasion tactics used in harmful content, and how to use technology effectively. Social-emotional skills will provide the student with the abilities to resist harmful online content, such as strong skills in problem-solving, rational decision-making, emotional and behavioral regulation, interpersonal relationships, and how actions affect the self and others. The combination of social-emotional learning and digital literacy will equip students with the critical comprehension skills to recognize the harmful online content and reduce susceptibility to its messaging, stopping the radicalization process before it can start or evolve into targeted violence.
  • How is DUCC different from other digital literacy programs?
    DUCC is unlike traditional digital citizenship or social-emotional learning lessons. We start at a young age teaching complex topics in a very digestible and age-appropriate way. The lessons can fit into a teacher’s existing class schedule, as we will have lessons that teach digital literacy and SEL through history, reading and writing, science, civics, and more. DUCC is unique as we add a strong foundation of social-emotional learning to digital literacy in order to increase critical thinking skills and prevent online radicalization and targeted violence. Current programs that address misinformation start in middle school, focus on digital citizenship without a strong SEL component, and are not for the purpose of pre-preventing targeted violence and online radicalization. DUCC is the only program of its kind.
  • How does DUCC prevent extremism without exposing my child to extremist content?
    Children do not need to know what extremist content is in order to resist it. Our curriculum does not show youth examples of extremist or hateful content. Rather, DUCC fosters resilience among youth by developing the skills necessary to evaluate information and understand its implications. This prevents radicalization towards extremism in the long term because youth will be able to safely and effectively consume and share information.
  • What makes DUCC’s curriculum apolitical?
    We are vehemently opposed to teaching students what to think; we believe in the power of teaching youth how to think and allowing them to independently make decisions and form opinions. The curriculum was not made through the lens of any particular political ideology and will remain that way.
  • Will DUCC’s curriculum cause my child to be afraid of the internet?
    DUCC teaches students to be skeptical of unverified information found online, but not to be scared of the internet as a whole. In this digital age, DUCC understands how useful and prevalent the internet is, and we want to teach students how to intentionally use it as a part of their toolkit in understanding the world around them.
  • How is this topic age-appropriate?
    DUCC was crafted with age-appropriateness in mind for younger students. We explain these high-level concepts in terms and examples that students can understand and even relate to. In our initial beta testing, we found that 95% of second and third grade students enjoyed our video lessons and 100% of students learned something new, and many were able to apply what they learned to their everyday lives.
  • Why is it important to teach this content to K-5 students?
    Introducing students to these topics at an early age establishes best practices before students are exposed to any extremist content or misinformation online. Having these good habits established before they are actually put to the test helps build resiliency against this harmful content. It is much more difficult to disengage from harmful content and behaviors than it is to gain skills from the start that safeguard against believing harmful narratives that can lead to online radicalization. Priming students with these skills at a young age will increase protective factors against violence, so that as they grow up, they will be less susceptible to harmful online content and never get to the point of radicalization and targeted violence.
  • What can parents do to promote positive online behaviors?
    Engage in children’s media activities, and learn about the websites and social media platforms that they are using. Having conversations about the child's media consumption and providing them a space to be open to talking about what they are encountering online provides an opportunity to correct false information and develop their critical thinking skills. Demonstrate positive technology use and good examples of healthy online behaviors Promote positive emotional and behavioral characteristics (such as empathy, compassion, and inclusion) and be aware of risk factors (such as isolation, engagement with violent content, thrill/risk-seeking, justifying harmful behaviors and beliefs) While there are many online trackers for social media, we do not encourage them. It may seem like these would be effective, but many child development experts have concerns about the impacts of using these trackers. Online trackers can also raise anxiety in children, making them feel as if they’ve already done something wrong. If you’re worried about your child’s online habits, having a conversation with them is the perfect starting point.
  • Why should we be concerned about online radicalization?
    Children today are accessing all types of technology at much younger ages, and there has been a recent increase in misinformation, harmful online content, and online radicalization, especially for youth. Often, this content is engaging and appealing, and children will interact with the content without realizing the potential harm. Constant exposure and interaction with this type of content will shape their beliefs, behavior, and values. In cases where young people are consistently engaging with harmful online content and supremacist groups, they are more likely to adopt radical thought patterns and behaviors. Anyone can become radicalized, as the persuasion tactics that these groups use are very effective, especially if the individual is engaging with a lot of harmful online content, propaganda, false conspiracy theories, and extremist views.
  • Will DUCC become outdated as new technology develops?
    Technology is evolving at rapid speeds, so rather than teaching the specifics of current online platforms that will quickly become outdated, we teach critical skills that can be applied to any current and future digital spaces.
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