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The 9 elements of digital citizenship you need to know

The online environment should be a safe space in which everyone feels protected. Since education is at the heart of society, students should be taught to use technology in a responsible manner, ensuring the safety of the online environment for generations to come.

In their book, Digital Citizenship in Schools, Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey talk about how technology influences the way people interact and the concept of digital citizenship in the classroom. The authors define nine elements of digital citizenship, related to technology usage inside and outside the school environment:

  1. Digital accessAlthough we live in a digital era, not everyone has access to technology. As teachers, we should be aware of this digital divide. Not all students can afford a computer, a smartphone and Internet access. That’s why educators need to provide suitable alternatives for each student’s needs.
  2. Digital commerceDigital commerce highlights the necessity to tackle safety issues related to using money in the digital world. Technology is also used in the classroom to teach students about the various career paths that they could choose in the future. Understanding how e-commerce works is a must, both as consumers and as potential entrepreneurs.
  3. Digital communicationOnline communication has become so common that students forget they are doing so in a virtual space, where miscommunication happens often. The Internet has given a voice to anyone who needs it. In turn, this requires empathy and appropriate reactions from its users.
  4. Digital literacyDigital literacy also includes the ability to differentiate between real and fake content, which can have a negative impact on the lives of your students. They need to learn which content is good for them and what they should avoid in order to lead a balanced life.
  5. Digital etiquetteWe should teach students to become “digitally fluent”. Digital etiquette shapes their online behavior to respond positively to online content. In this way, their online attitude is reflected in the real world and vice versa.
  6. Digital lawThe online environment has room for both positive and negative interactions. Digital law deals with legal rights and restrictions governing technology usage. To prevent any kind of online crime, no matter how serious, students as digital citizens need to know the law and how it applies to them in particular.
  7. Digital rights and responsibilitiesThe online world has its regulations and a user has rights and responsibilities. The Internet can also be used for harmful purposes and anyone needs protection against cyberbullying, for instance. Schools should approach this subject in classrooms, hold students accountable for their actions and also report any misconduct in the virtual environment.
  8. Digital health and wellnessStudents should be taught to protect themselves and others from potential harm and ask for help if they need it. Making use of online resources is a plus, but everyone should be aware of the dangers as well.
  9. Digital securitySecurity in the online world is important. When using devices at school or at home, students should be aware of potential malware attacks. Teachers should explain how to prevent them from happening and how to protect their devices as much as possible.

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