What is Digital Citizenship and Why is it Important?
“Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”
-- Mike Ribble
Addressing the 21st century skill of digital citizenship is critically important in todays society; to help students to learn, communicate and collaborate safely and responsibly. Being a well rounded digital citizen in the community includes having email etiquette, reporting and preventing cyber bullying, learning how to protect private information, etc. WPS recognizes the importance of teaching digital citizenship and building a healthy school culture that includes responsible and thoughtful use of media and the internet among students and adults and preparing our students to practice safe, balanced, and ethical use of technology in many facet of their lives, both in and out of school.
Virginia HB 58 (2006) requires all school divisions to "include a component of internet safety for students that is integrated in a division's instructional program." The Virginia Department of Education has published Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools. Additional information about internet safety can be found on the Virginia Department of Education website.
1-Digital Access - Digital access is full electronic participation in society
A good digital citizen works toward the goal of providing technology access to all. This includes those with special needs (e.g., visually or hearing impaired) and those living in rural areas who may not have digital access available or be able to afford it. Creating descriptive narratives in audio and text so that all students can follow the content will overcome these obstacles.
2-Digital Commerce - Digital commerce is the electronic buying and selling of goods
Good digital citizenship requires self-control when buying online as well as safety measures to keep credit card and personal information safe. The repercussions of spending money impulsively online creates opportunities for identity theft and scams. Parents can teach children stewardship and at the same time control how they spend and save their pocket money.
3-Digital Communication - Digital communication is an electronic exchange of information
Good digital citizens understand electronic relaying of information is a tool used with discretion and at appropriate times. They are considerate when and how they use digital communication tools, think before publishing something, and realize that their posts are permanent and visible to everyone.
4-Digital Literacy - Digital literacy is teaching and learning about technology and its use
Digital literacy requires learning and understanding technology and how to use it. Teachers should grasp the full extent of how the technologies used in the classroom work. Their digital literacy should be at a high enough standard to use the technology and to teach the students how to use it.
5-Digital Etiquette - Digital etiquette is electronic standards of conduct or procedure
Digital etiquette is often neglected because the focus is generally on learning how to use the electronic technology. Teaching digital etiquette to students, as well as setting an example, is critical in helping them make appropriate behavioral decisions online. Children who are taught digital etiquette are also less likely to become cyberbullies or to find themselves in a situation where they are bullied.
6-Digital Law - Digital law is electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
Copyright laws protect digital intellectual property. It is a safety measure that automatically gives people copyright on their creations. Searching, downloading, and sharing illegally (music, movies, games, etc.), plagiarizing, or registering on an illegal file sharing site - even if you don't realize it - can result in criminal repercussions or other legal action.
7-Digital Rights and Responsibilities - Digital rights and responsibilities are those freedoms and expectations extended to everyone in a digital world
Everyone has the right to post and publish content, which includes protection of their content. Good digital citizens behave responsibly with content posted by others and don’t steal it, damage it, sabotage it, or use it to threaten, bully or harass the person.
8-Digital Health and Wellness - Digital health and wellness are physical and psychological well-being in a digital world
Digital health is looking after your physical body. Eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and poor body posture are adverse health effects on your body. Teach children from a young age to have a good posture and to protect their eyes from over exposure, as well as limit usage of digital technology in bedrooms.
9-Digital Security - Digital security is electronic precautions to guarantee safety
Digital security means regular backups of hard drives, up-to-date virus protection on your computer, encrypted wireless networks, active firewalls when connected to the internet and keeping software up to date. It also means teaching children not to share usernames and passwords, being wary of "friendly" strangers online, and not clicking on emails requiring sensitive information.