EC&I 831

Becoming responsible digital citizens


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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.


4 thoughts on “Becoming responsible digital citizens

  1. The statements you make in your final paragraph remind me of a comment Alec made during our last EC&I 831 class in his conclusion. He suggested that we shouldn’t be focused on teaching students “DIGITAL citizenship” because the digital component is not a separate entity in the lives of our students. We should be teaching “Citizenship”, with positive digital interactions making up a key portion of a student’s personal identity. I definitely agree that teachers can play a role in providing students with opportunities to develop positive citizenship skills.

    • Hello Dean Benko, thank you for stressing central role of citizenship. I agree that it is both the citizenship education and digital skills that help students to develop their digital citizenship.

  2. I agree that kids need to be educated on the positive and negative outcomes of what they post online. And that they should not necessarily engage in inappropriate behavior which includes not only posting personal information about themselves but also commenting on posts that others have made which could lead to bullying and harassment of others. I don’t think we can pass kids know right from wrong themselves. It is up to parents and teachers educate kids on proper digital citizenship in both the physical and virtual worlds. I had an incident at work a couple weeks ago where students had circulated the answers to let all the students in the online class through the discussion forums. In their mind they might’ve thought that sharing was a good thing. But in the case of this online course sharing of answers is not appropriate. This led to academic misconduct and a meeting with the Dean. The student didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

    • Thanks Greg for sharing. Yours is a good example to show that kids need teacher to guide them through appropriate online posting and commenting. I think it is important to make students aware that online learning community is also part of learning community, and that since the sharing of answers should not be allowed in classrooms, it is equally inappropriate in online forums.

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