Of course my parents always educated me on stranger danger, not to put my phone number or address on the internet, and to stay away from “inappropriate” sites. But when I heard the term “digital citizenship”, I was a bit concerned about whether or not what my parents taught me fell in line with this.
I could easily define both words. Digital- dealing with calculations and data. Citizenship- dealing with being a member of a town/country/or origin. So what happens when you add the two together? According to the “Definition of Digital Citizenship” article that I read digital citizenship is defined as “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.” To me, this means the way you behave behind a computer screen. The way you secure your accounts, the things you post, the sites you visit, etc.
What makes digital citizenship so important? According to Juan Enriques, one of the first things we need to learn is how permanent everything online is. Just as tattoos are permanent, you cannot undo what has been said, viewed, or posted. We need to realize the importance of this as students are posting, tweeting, scrolling daily. Even as adults we don’t stop to think how permanent something can be.
An article on the Principle of Change discusses the importance of educating our students on proper digital citizenship. This does not imply that we should ban social media sites in the school system. Instead we need to learn to have conversations with our students educating them on how to handle themselves online. We need to teach them that they will leave a footprint forever online. We need to stress the importance of security, safety, but also intelligent and professional use of websites to better our educations and our community as a whole. This is what true digital citizenship is.