Licks, Toilets & TikTok...
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
This past week has been a doozy for school bathrooms and classrooms all over the country. Soap dispensers, ceiling tiles, staplers, and other items (even toilets!) have been vandalized and stolen after a TikTok challenge went viral. This challenge (also known as the "The Devious Licks" challenge) has teachers and administrators scrambling for resources, holding town hall style meetings with parents, and ultimately calling the police in some serious cases. Why "licks" you may be asking? This refers to "licking" (otherwise known as stealing) something from school. Of course, the greater the risk, the more "devious" the "lick."
This is not an isolated incident in a few cities in the United States. Google it and literally pages and pages of newspaper reports will start to populate. Facebook and Twitter are besieged with thousands of posts from educators and parents that range from head-scratching to scathing posts about student disrespect. TikTok has responded with a statement that they will be pulling videos with the hashtag, but as we all know, that is only a bandaid on a greater problem and question: WHY?
Why would children (anyone, really) film themselves committing a crime and then post it to the internet? I mean, it defies logic! That's the point, though. These are children that we are talking about. With October being #DigitalCitizenshipMonth, now is a perfect time for the conversations to start about digital footprints, online safety, and being a responsible consumer and creator of digital media.
There are so many #DigitalCitizenship and #MediaLiteracy resources available that it can get overwhelming. To help, I have curated and created this calendar of different resources that can help bring these topics into the classroom and can be shared with parents/caregivers.
For each of the resource in the calendar, I will be making a short video about the resource, why I love it, and how it can be implemented in the classroom and school site. Check out my YouTube Channel for the videos. They will be released as part of DigCit Month through my #MotivatEDMondays each Monday in October.
With that said, a lesson here and a lesson there won't really make an impact when the next crazy TikTok trend comes along. In order to really make inroads with our students, we need to think about Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy not as lessons, but a part of our school culture. There is a lot of work to be done in this area, and I know that it can feel like "one more thing." However, as we have seen this past week, Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy are THE THING that we need to focus on. How can we embed these ever present and important topics into all that we do and teach in schools? I will be tackling that very question in the coming month.
(Image of TikTok response courtesy of Twitter)