I’m not sure if you notice, but the number of ways that we can communicate with each other has exploded almost exponentially. Here’s a short rundown of the tools that I’ve used to communicate with others in the past week or so:

E-mail
Texting
Google Hangouts
Skype
Facetime
LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook (and its messenger)
Pinterest (yes, it has its own messaging too!)
Phone

And I think I got spam from What’s App. I also might have put something in the mail.

This post was originally going to be about picking the right tool for how we communicate with each other, but I’m not sure that’s the problem. Most of us have figured out who we can text with, who we can message on Facebook, and who we should be sending e-mails. If you haven’t, think about the level of formality that you have with who you are communicating with, the boundaries that you have with that person, and the immediacy of your need to communicate. It’s not a simple decision tree, but it is a practical one.

Instead, I’m realizing that despite having all of these communication tools so handy to us that I worry that the quality of conversation that we are having may be impacted. Are we filtering what we should be saying depending upon where we are saying it? Are we thinking about our words before we hit send? Are we thinking about who we share what with? And what kind of example is our digital behavior setting for those that look at us as role models?

These aren’t easy questions, but we need to be thinking about them. This week marks Digital Citizenship Week, an effort promoted by Common Sense Media. During this week, we’re encouraged to #HaveTheTalk with our kids about how they behave online. Common Sense Media has created some great tools for having that conversation with our children and our students.

Maybe, first, though, we should have that conversation with ourselves.

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