Instilling Digital Citizenship in our Students

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The article, “Egyptians Demonstrate Digital Citizenship” by Stephen Balkam, really brought to light some concepts that we, as Americans, often take for granted. It is almost unimaginable to think of not being able to use social media and the internet. For me, this article really put things into perspective. We are so lucky to be able to access the digital world and everything that it encompasses.

Another aspect of the article that made me think was the question, “How can we promote new social norms of behavior in a seemingly rule-free, anything goes environment that much of the web seems to exhibit?” The internet is a place that seems like it is a free-for-all. There is not really a set of rules and pretty much anyone could get away with anything while using it. However, for some reason, people still follow a code of rules while using the internet. When people follow this artificial set of rules, they are considered a good digital citizen.

As teachers, it is important to teach our students how to become good digital citizens. With that, we need to instill the idea that the internet is not a free-for-all, rather it is an aspect of our society that needs to be handled with the same delicacy as any other real-life situation. It is important that our students know that having freedom to use the internet is a privilege and not everyone in the world has this freedom.

Part of being a 21st century citizen means that you are equipped to use technology and the rules that govern its use. If teachers instill and teach the values of good digital citizenship to their students, students will be best prepared to safely and appropriately use technology.

The following is a video of a teacher teaching her elementary aged students a lesson on digital citizens. The video also explains the importance of  being a good digital citizen.

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