Here’s how you can help your students become responsible and safe digital citizens.Jun 04, 2020
Digital citizenship is more important than ever, especially for young students who are far more dependent on technology than generations prior. Whether they’re consuming information, making online purchases, creating or searching for entertainment, or engaging in social communities, it’s important they know how to engage in a manner that’s safe and responsible.
Here are five elements of digital citizenship you can incorporate into your teaching to help your students become responsible digital citizens.
Digital Etiquette Is for Everyone
For students today, participating in social communities online is just as important as socializing IRL (in real life). Yet, standards that guide how people should interact with each other online are less than standard, leaving the internet a “wild west” of social interactions. Create ‘netiquette’ for your classroom’s online activities to help your students learn what it means to communicate and interact with others respectfully and with kindness in a digital setting.
A Digital Footprint Matters
The pictures your students post, the content they publish, their comments, and other actions they take online create a digital footprint that becomes a larger part of an online profile that can impact how future employers, colleges, and others view them in the physical world. Help your students understand the concept of a digital footprint to empower them to create a positive online profile that will help — not hurt — them now and in the future.
Digital Rules Are Still Rules
Copyright infringement, plagiarism, libel, intellectual property theft — digital access and connectivity makes it easy for students to break laws without realizing it, especially if they don’t know what the laws are. Look for opportunities in the classroom to discuss the laws students are at risk of breaking, and then create guidelines that help them implement responsible digital use.
For example, are your students working on a project that requires online research? Make sure they know what information needs to be cited and how to cite it to avoid plagiarism. If they’re creating a multimedia project, seize the opportunity to teach them how to find fair use music that doesn’t infringe on copyright protections.
Just Because the Internet Said It’s True Doesn’t Make it True
When not used responsibly, the internet can be a misleading place. Teach your students what to look for in a website to ensure it’s credible, as well as how to judge whether the information they find online is accurate.
Virtual Danger Isn’t Just Virtual
Safety risks on the internet are as serious as physical safety threats. Talk to your students about how to protect their personal information online, and how to create safe boundaries for meeting and building relationships online.