As we move into a digital society, there are appropriate skills, behaviors and constraints we need to not only embrace, but teach to the next generation.
You can also call it digital ethics. As mobile devices are now everywhere, including in our classrooms, there are many who feel we should work together to create a citizenship that is followed by all, regardless of culture, governments, religion, etc. As you work through the steps below, note instances in your own life so you can give examples as you encourage others to think of digital citizenship.
What kind of digital access do you have? Others may have more or less than you do. You need to be aware of those who have no access, limited access or full access to the technologies of today. When helping others, incorporate alternative communication plans for people without access. Ask members of your troop / group about their digital access.
Much of today’s market is digital. You can order items to be shipped to your house as well as having instant access to things like ebooks. With this comes the realization that what you’re purchasing might be outside of your country, the business you’re purchasing from might or might not be legitimate, additional costs may be added (taxes and shipping), etc.
In addition, areas have different views on things like gambling. Of course, it’s not only the laws that may be broken, but things online may go against your morals. Before purchasing items online, do a bit of research on who you are doing business with so you are comfortable with not only your purchases, but who will be receiving your money.
Today, you can be connected digitally 24 hours a day. Look at your own digital communication habits. There are times you may or may not be online. You may have rules you’ve constructed for yourself and your family. Think of others when you communicate with them. Someone in Australia might not appreciate a call from the US in the middle of the night. In addition, people with limited online access may not appreciate multiple large files being sent to them. Brainstorm questions you can ask people you interact with online to find what works and doesn’t work with them. If you have a group, create a “code of ethics” for your group.
What does each person need to know about the digital world? This will change for students, business professionals, medical personnel, and stay-at-home parents. They need to know where to find information and how to use it. However, technology advances happen quickly and if you’re already behind when the next one happens, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed. So, we need to use the digital world to keep up with it.
Here are some current technologies and possible digital offerings. Determine when each should be taught and what should be taught.
- Application development
- Audio editing
- Available technologies
- Digital art
- Digital etiquette
- Digital learning
- Ebook creation
- Email etiquette
- File sharing
- Mobile media
- Online safety
- Search skills
- Specific application usage
- Tablet computing
- Technology-related injuries
- Video creation / editing
- Web design
- WiFi access
- Wiki editing
If you think of more beyond this list, add them and rate them as well.
Many people never learned digital etiquette. We don’t want to offend people, so we often ignore bad etiquette. To stop bad etiquette, rules and regulations are created. When behavior is bad enough, the person is either ostracized or the technology is banned. Each person should be aware of their own presence online. There is strength is diversity, so what is “normal” or “right” to us may not be to someone else. Write down those pieces of etiquette you use every day. Share these to help educate others.
Stealing or causing damage to another’s work, identity or property online is a crime. This includes hacking information, sharing illegal music, plagiarizing, creating and releasing viruses or spamming. Just like in the “real” world, there are rules in the digital world. Discuss the types of crime and how these acts affect others.
8. Rights and responsibilities.
Everyone has basic rights — free speech, right to privacy, feeling safe, ways to protect oneself, etc. These rights are not only your rights, but the rights of everyone you are communicating with. When you do something online, put yourself in your audience’s place. Would you want someone to say or do the same thing to you?
9. Health and wellness.
There are many injuries that can result from using technology. Eye strain is huge. Ergonomic practices are often ignored. Many people are completely unaware of how being online is affecting their health. In addition, addictions to gaming or just online usage now occur. Be aware of what you are doing and take precautions. Create a way to share how to stay healthy while participating in the digital world.
Someone is always looking to get something from nothing. Be aware that some people lie. Digital law outlines what crimes are, but you also need to protect yourself. This includes virus scanners, not sharing private information, back-ups of our photos and more. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Look at your own digital interactions and start incorporating security in your activities.
The above steps are all part of the REPs — Respect, Educate and Protect. Etiquette, access and law fall under respect. Communication, literacy and commerce are part of education. Rights, safety and health all are protection. Grouping them together makes it easier to share and explain digital citizenship to kids who may find the individual items daunting. Brainstorm ways to share digital citizenship with others.
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