What Is Digital Citizenship? How Is It Learned?

When you are living in a society where you are playing a role like everyone else, you are meant to have some responsibility towards that role and society. You are bound to behave well and show respect when interacting with the people around you to maintain the environment. The obligation is the same when you are using the internet and it is called digital citizenship.

What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital citizenship is about the responsible and sensible use of technology and the internet by anyone who is using the internet, computer, and other digital devices to engage with other people on the same level. It might sound like a new concept but it has been there and we must make it a point of concern for ourselves.

A digital citizen is a person who has the skill and the knowledge to effectively communicate with others through digital media and the internet. They know how to use digital media with confidence and how to engage positively with it.

As technology is rising, almost everyone is somehow being dependent on the internet and digital media. Whether it is about checking our bank accounts, searching for some information, using social media for entertainment, purchasing something, or any similar activities, we always need technology and the internet for this. Therefore, everyone who is using the internet and digital devices accounts for digital citizenship.

Good and Bad Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship doesn’t always go one way. There is bad and then there is good digital citizenship. Good digital citizenship includes being empathetic with each other and creating good relationships using digital media and tools. Whereas bad digital citizenship entails the irresponsible use of social media, cyberbullying, and a lack of knowledge regarding the good use of social media and the internet.

Kids, teens, and even some adults are very much prone to bad digital citizenship because of the purpose they use media for. Some of them want to bully their friends by using social media and texting, some want to make fun of each other, some cross all the limits to sharing everything on media, and even some adults are online predators that are there to grab the attention of innocent kids. With these actions and intentions, there is a dire need to teach digital citizenship to make sure these kids know the gravity of the effects their behaviors have on the surroundings.  

What Does Digital Citizenship Include?

Several concepts are to be followed if you are learning or teaching digital citizenship. Some of the basic concerns that need to be taught about digital media and internet usage are:

  • Practicing digital literacy
  • Learning how the internet works
  • Understanding user data
  • Empathy
  • Acknowledging the digital divide
  • Practicing digital wellness
  • Securing digital devices and data

Each of these concepts matters a lot when you have just entered the world of the internet and social media. Learning about understanding the other person, knowing that your words can hurt someone, knowing how to use the internet for proper research, if there is entertainment then how to enjoy it most decently, understanding your right to safety and protection; all of this matters when you are using the internet.

Why is Digital Citizenship Important?

Digital citizenship holds great value because it keeps harmony and peace in the media. Furthermore, it is one of the most important things that need to be taught to kids and teens. As they start using the internet and mobile phones, they usually want to enjoy it as much as they want. In that sense, they often forget to keep any boundaries and limitations while using the internet which leads to a lack of manners and responsibility while using the internet.

If they are not taught, kids often end up sharing their secret, private information, and a lot of other things on the internet not knowing what would be the consequences. Therefore, they need to be taught about their privacy rights, the danger of sharing too much, and obviously, they need to know that if they have bad intentions, it will bring disturbance in society.

Reasons to Teach Digital Citizenship in The School Year

It might not sound necessary right now, but since the whole world is being digital right now, it is only wise to teach kids about digital media and its use from the school year. Here are some of the solid reasons that lead to this step:

  • Students need to learn about information literacy which gives them the skills and ability to use the internet and information found there in the smartest ways with smart research.
  • It is a great way of teaching kids about the dangers associated with cyberbullying. They must learn about how and when to set boundaries when you are teasing someone. Also, it encourages them to be open and report about any sort of behavior that is making them uncomfortable.
  • Kids must know about their right to safety and privacy. They must understand how they should keep their personal information private and not share everything with everyone on the internet.
  • Technology can become addictive and also it can induce certain mental health issues. Kids need to know about those issues and how they should never let digital technology affect their mental health.

When you are teaching them things, make sure to check later if they are fulfilling their responsibility as digital citizens. The more they understand the concept of being responsible on the internet, the better our present and future will be.