A digital citizen is familiar with how to use technology and understands the consequences of his or her actions. This person uses technology for his or her own benefit but also respects certain principles, like privacy and the Golden Rule.
It is important that children and teenagers learn about digital citizenship in school. It is the only way to ensure that they will grow up able to reap the full benefits of the Internet without exposing themselves to risks.
Today, an online attack takes place every 39 seconds and 59% of teenagers have been cyberbullied or threatened. Moreover, children can be exposed to inappropriate content on social media, they can have their identities stolen, and they can even be exploited or manipulated.
Digital citizens know how to manage their own digital footprint by using privacy settings and avoiding posting anything embarrassing or dangerous. They also take a balanced approach to their consumption of media, just as they would with food. This is the only way to ensure their mental health and well-being.
School communities can begin to promote digital citizenship by incorporating lessons into core disciplines, such as ELA or social studies. This proactive approach emphasizes habits of mind versus a reactive plug-in to students’ devices. Educators can also provide students with resources to help them be good digital citizens such as the ones provided by Common Sense Media and ISTE. They can also encourage discussion on sensitive topics such as freedom of speech, cyberbullying and digital wellbeing.