Digital Citizenship

Just as we are citizens of the globe in the physical world, as users of the digital world, we are also “citizens”. Get to know more about Digital Citizenship, what it entails and why it’s important to promote positive digital citizenship.

  • Digital citizenship can be defined as the set of guiding principles on the appropriate, responsible, and savvy use of technology.
  • It is a concept that helps us understand what all technology users should know in order to use technology mindfully and wisely.
  • As technology is continuously being developed, the concept of digital citizenship is not fixed, but rather continuously being updated.
  • A digital citizen is a person who is equipped with skills and knowledge to navigate the digital world and utilize digital technologies in a positive manner. A digital citizen consumes and creates digital content, and is able to participate, communicate, and contribute positively to society.
  • Just like a citizen knows what is right and wrong, contributes positively and acts thoughtfully in the community, a digital citizen understands what is right and wrong, uses technology carefully, and makes wise choices.
  • A digital citizen is aware that there are serious rights and responsibilities that come with inhabiting the cyberspace, and accepts these terms to make it a safer space for everyone.

Importance of Digital Citizenship

  • Today, over 4 billion people across the globe are online, and this number is growing rapidly. Active internet users are regularly interacting through a multitude of digital technologies.
  • These online users form what is called a digital society that offers promising opportunities in various areas including entertainment, education, employment and social networking.
  • When we use the internet we all become contributors to a global, interconnected community. Regardless of where or who we are, all our actions have a significant impact on others.
  • As in any society, it is expected that citizens act in a certain way according to accepted norms, rules, and laws. Most of today’s global population of digital citizens are entirely comfortable with technology, but….
  • Are they using it appropriately? Do they understand their roles and responsibilities in digital society? ​
  • Only through digital citizenship can digital citizens realize the full potential of positive experiences in the online world.

Key Principles of Digital Citizenship

  • There are several creative ways to highlight they key principles of digital citizenship.
  • One way is the S3 Framework: Safe, Savvy and Social (S3), consisting of three tiers of support needed and provided by digital citizens.
    • Safety: highlights the importance of preventing risks and danger, and protecting oneself and others.
    • Savvy: highlights the importance of lifelong learning, staying updated with the concepts and changes brought by the digital world, and educating oneself and others to make wise decisions online.
    • Social: highlights the importance of respecting oneself and others in the digital world, to enable prosocial, cooperative relationships between digital citizens.

Key Components of Digital Citizenship

There are many key aspects and components of Digital Citizenship. To enhance our overall Digital Wellbeing, the below select components of Digital Citizenship are a key priority:

As digital citizens, think of the questions each component poses below as food for thought.

  1. Digital Health & Wellness: The consumption of technology by children and younger generations is a major health and wellbeing concern especially for older generations of parents who were not born into the digital age.
    • How can Digital Wellbeing be embraced to allow digital citizens to benefit from technology without compromising their physical and mental wellbeing?
  2. Digital Literacy: the process of raising awareness and educating people about technology and how to use it responsibly.
    •  How can digital literacy be spread to empower the use of technology for good, with a promotion of lifelong learning, as technology continues to evolve?
  3. Digital Etiquette: the customary code of conduct that sets the standard for polite behavior in the digital society.
    • How can digital citizens role model positive behavior and digital etiquette? Both for young and older digital citizens, it is essential to lay ground rules that shape the way we use digital technology. For example, it may be agreed that there are no smartphones to be used during meals, or during work meetings.
  4. Digital Security: necessary precautions to guarantee a safe and secure digital society
    • How can digital citizens increase their self-protection online? How can the privacy of digital citizens’ data be protected? How can breaches and scams be limited?
  5. Digital Law: rules that define correct procedures, behaviors and responsibilities, in addition to legal implications in the digital society.
    • How can digital citizens promote respectful lawful behavior in the digital world? Just as illegal behavior is punished, online illegal behavior needs to be reported. For example, stealing intellectual digital property is equally as bad as stealing from a shopping mall.