Digital Citizenship is something that I hold great value in. I have been working in a 1:1 environment for 4 years and have found that although we are working with “Digital Natives” they are not always “Digital Citizens”. They have the know-how of navigating their favorite Social Media sites and playing their favorite online games, but they do not have the know how, in many cases, of protecting themselves from online predators and do not have the research skills and capabilities of using the internet to find viable/factual information. Many students lack the skill of being able to research effectively on the internet.
I have had students, even before the 1:1 initiative, say that they know how to use the internet and that they 100% have protected themselves from strangers being able to access their information. We have had class discussions about this. Students, even after they have said they “hide” their information, come out and say, “It’s not fair! So-and-so used my picture and then said stuff about me on so-and-so’s Facebook.” We then have a class discussion about anything that is posted online is “no longer private”. Even though you post and you may only share with your friends, they can copy that picture and then share with others.” Kids today do not understand that E-mail, Private Messages, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, Instagram, ANYTHING on the web is NOT PRIVATE. Even adults tend to forget this at times. Once it is out there it is ALWAYS THERE. That’s another thing, students think when they “delete” their history, a post, an E-mail, a file on their computer that it is gone forever. They are “tech savvy” in terms of the mechanics of using the equipment and navigation of a site or game, but that can not be confused with “tech literate” or being a digital citizen.
The other skill they fall back on is being able to navigate the web to find factual, reliable information to enhance their education. More needs to be done with engaging students in real research by teaching them skills of using the databases, and reliable websites. Each year myself and the ELA teacher have our Librarian do a Database Presentation for the students to show them how to effectively navigate through World Book Online, American History Online and other databases. She also shows them EasyBib and explains the importance of citing sources. In this time when everything is shared on the web, some students forget the importance of giving attribution to the source. We see it all the time- websites that use other people’s materials and do not have it sited. This is all about being a Digital Citizen- knowing good etiquette and also knowing how to efficiently and safely use the internet and other apps and options that come with the use of technology.
Below are some short videos about Digital Citizenship created by Xin Zhang on YouTube, Digital Etiquette fro Brain Pop, online safety video from Family Online Safety Institute.