Teaching Digital Citizenship

From a young age, students are taught what a good citizen looks like: obeying laws, helping others, staying informed. Unfortunately, many students (and adults!) think the Internet is a place to let that good citizenship fall apart. You only need to look at the rise of cyberbullying to see this phenomenon first-hand. It’s important for teachers to teach students to be good citizens wherever they go, be it in the physical or digital world.

Consider sharing these guidelines and thoughts about good digital citizenship with your students this coming school year:

Staying Safe

  • Never use your full name or give away any personal details online.

  • Speak to an adult if any interaction online seems strange or makes you uncomfortable. Remember that it’s easy for someone to use a fake name or pose as someone else online.

Interacting with Others

  • Be respectful in online discussions. Allow others the chance to speak and reply to your ideas. Respond thoughtfully to diverse opinions.

  • Practice the 5-minute rule. If anything online makes you upset or angry, wait 5 minutes after typing a response before hitting send. Take that time to really think if that response is respectful.

  • Before sending a message online or through a text message, ask yourself if you would say that message to a person’s face. If not, think about why you wouldn’t. Maybe the message shouldn’t be sent.

  • Use Standard English and grammar in all interactions online.

Presenting Yourself

  • Credit the source of all information, photos, and videos you use if you did not create them yourself. Using someone else’s work without giving credit is plagiarism and a form of stealing.

  • Understand that nothing on the Internet ever really disappears. Your digital footprint will follow you to college, the workplace, and beyond. Be aware of the image you create.

Would love to hear what other suggestions you have to promote digital citizenship — please share in the comments below!

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