More and more students are getting access to devices at a younger age. In order to keep students safe, it’s important for them to become good digital citizens and learn how to use technology responsibly. So, what is digital citizenship? Digital Citizenship is the practice of using the Internet and technology safely, respectfully and responsibly.
What is Digital Citizenship?
- The practice of using the Internet and technology safely, respectfully and responsibly
- Best practices for responsible technology use
- Techniques and strategies for responsible use of social media and technology
- The ability to think critically and discern what is positive to share online and what should be kept private
- Protecting private information, respecting yourself and others, staying safe online, giving proper credit when using someone else’s work, and balancing time spent online and offline
Digital Citizenship in the news
The popularity of devices in general have left many teachers worried about both keeping kids on task and ensuring their behavior online isn’t hurting each other. That’s where classes like Digital Citizenship come in. –Fast Company
Before they start chatting with anyone online, kids need to know some basic digital citizenship and online privacy information. –CNN
[In 2017], Washington leaders passed a law that requires students to learn about media literacy and internet safety in schools. The law requires Washington schools to develop a model policy to better support digital citizenship. –US News
[Digital citizenship should be taught in schools] not as an add-on but as a complement to what’s already being taught in the classroom. –The Atlantic
In 2014, more than three million Chromebooks were used in educational institutions. As that number continues to grow, so does the need for increased focus on programs that teach digital citizenship skills. –Forbes
We all need to work together to develop and enforce digital citizenship norms that make social media platforms hospitable for everyone. –The New York Times
All educators have a responsibility to address digital citizenship. –The Guardian
One of the best methods of building digital citizenship is to begin early. –Chicago Tribune
Kids need a national Digital Citizenship curriculum. –VentureBeat
Questions to ask younger kids
- Is it ok to share my password with my BFF?
- Is it ok for me to talk with people online who my parents don’t know?
- If I see bullying online, and I click “like/heart” on that post, does that mean I’m bullying also?
- If I see something bad online, who should I tell?
When should your student be public?
Ages 0-13 – Should have an entirely private online presence
Ages 14-15 – Start having a family discussion regarding what should be public
Age 15 – Consider posting some positive images and volunteer photos on social media
Age 17 – Colleges should be able to find a positive online footprint for your student
Digital Citizenship 3 step plan
- Audit your student’s online image – Use Google to see what’s out there
- Dialog with your student about their future (and where they want to go)
- Create content to improve their online image – Make content that is congruent with their college application
Why should parents care about Digital Citizenship?
- The consequences of making a mistake online can lead to dangerous situations
- College admission officers and employers review applicants’ digital footprints, so it’s essential to ensure you have a positive online image
- Students may be unaware that social networking sites and apps could be sharing their personal information with third parties
- Access to technology increases the chance of your student being exposed to inappropriate content
- A lack of balance between screen time and time spent offline can lead to sleep deprivation
- Teens who spend a lot of time on social media tend to rely on social validation which has a negative effect on their self-esteem
How to become a good Digital Citizen
- Parents: Take time with students and go through all of their past social media images
- Delete inappropriate images or posts that may not represent your current maturity level
- Use one profile photo across all social media accounts, so you are easily identifiable
- If you’re a Teen (and have your parents’ permission): Consider creating a LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ account under your real name. These will positively impact your digital footprint on Google
- On your Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts, add links to websites where your achievements are featured, such as a school website, or team sports website
- Use your full name (including middle) in the bio sections
- List school, hobbies, awards and sports accomplishments in your account descriptions
- Highlight volunteer and extracurricular activities
- When posting photos online, consider including your city name and school name in some of the bios or captions below the photos to make sure those are discovered by Google
Before posting anything online, ask yourself:
- Will this post help (or hurt) my chances of my dream college accepting me to my dream major?
- How would I feel if this post was shown publicly to my peers, neighbors, or to my relatives?