What you should know about digital citizenship

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Have you ever come across the term digital citizenship? In our highly connected world, you may have read or heard it mentioned several times while surfing the net or reading and listening to the news. Mike Ribble, considered a leading expert on the topic, defines it as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use”.

“Digital Citizenship consists of “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”

So why do you need to know about it? Here are some compelling reasons:

It affects your everyday life

It’s undeniable that digital technology permeates our daily lives. You use it in your profession, in everyday transactions, for socializing, for getting basic services. Your children are increasingly online too, for entertainment, socialization and education. And just like being a citizen of a country, knowing how to be a good one will help you participate more fully and become more productive, build and maintain good relationships, and establish a successful, orderly and peaceful life.

The mechanics of digital citizenship help you understand why it is not safe to email your Social Insurance Number or UCI number. It tells you that posting rants on Facebook or Twitter is probably not a good idea (hello prospective employers!). It gives you guideposts on the proper ways of communicating with your peers, your boss, or the general public. By harnessing the power of good digital citizenship, you can even help change the lives of others. This video from Cyberwise talks about digital citizenship in more detail:

What is Digital Citizenship?

It’s not only about etiquette

According to Digital Citizenship.net, it covers nine themes:

  • Digital Access – revolves around issues concerning full electronic participation in society. It is all about supporting and helping others have the same access to digital technology.
  • Digital Commerce – concerned with the electronic buying and selling of goods. This also discusses issues involved in buying and selling online.
  • Digital Communication – electronic exchange of information and the choices we make when faced with numerous digital communication options.
  • Digital Literacy – the process of learning and teaching about technology and the use of technology.
  • Digital Etiquette – electronic standards of procedure for appropriate and responsible conduct online.
  • Digital Law – deals with the ethics of technology within a society and the rules that apply to anyone who plays or works online.
  • Digital Rights and Responsibility – concerned with the basic set of rights afforded to every digital citizen and the responsibilities that come with these.
  • Digital Health and Wellness – concerned about the issues and ways by which the physical and psychological well-being of digital citizens are maintained.
  • Digital Security (self-protection) – these are electronic precautions to guarantee safety and protection.

These nine themes encompass what digital citizenship is all about. They explore the risks and benefits, as well as the various issues that come with fully participating as a digital citizen.

It helps you maximize the benefits of the global community

The more you know about digital citizenship, the more you can reap the benefits of today’s technology. Learning the best practices will help you maximize its efficiency, wide reach, and variety and breadth of information that can empower you.
Article updated September 3, 2021.

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Community Resources

Learn more about digital citizenship from videos at Common Sense.org/education

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What you should know about digital citizenship

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