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I do not know when the term “digital citizenship” first appeared, but this definitely has a lot to do with the wide use of internet and information technology. Today we are extensively utilizing IT to engage in our personal and social lives, and it is quite natural for us to share our personal information online with whom we know or may not know.
As illustrated in this article, everything we put online leaves a digital footprint, and it is impossible for us to remove this footprint. There are already many cases talking about people, especially young kids being bullied or harassed as a result of improper upload of personal information or pictures. This video shows an example of this case.
The happening of online bully and harassment urges the need for educating kids to become responsible and caring digital citizens. Since teenagers are usually not fully aware of the potential harms that the improper use of IT could bring to them, they need parents’ and teachers’ guidance and support in this respect.
Young kids should learn to carefully examine the consequences of posting their personal information online, because this information might be available for everyone to view, even for those who they might never think of sharing with before. They should learn to respect other person’s privacy online, and that any disrespect or harassment might cause huge damage to the person who receives it. They should also learn the proper use of online resources for academic purposes, in order to avoid any form of plagiarism.
Since the digital world is overlapping with our physical world and has become part of our life, the education of digital citizenship should also become part of our learning to become responsible citizens. It is everyone’s responsibility to educate not only our kids, but also ourselves to become responsible and caring digital citizens. I’d love to hear from you if you have any comments in this respect.