Digital Citizenship

Since the last few decades, the world around us has changed drastically. The onset of the internet has made our lives better and easier by every means. The process of digitizing society only seems to be accelerating and with such rapid change, it becomes necessary to know all about digital citizenship such as the responsibilities, roles, and skills for navigating digital life. In this blog, we explore the importance of digital citizenship for teachers and the key elements it entails. Finally, we explore how can we increase awareness among students about digital citizenship.

What is Digital Citizenship?

The term Digital citizenship refers to the ethical and responsible use of technology and the internet. It encompasses a wide range of attitudes and behaviours that help communities and individuals navigate the online world in a way that promotes respect, safety, and positive social interactions. As our lives become increasingly dependent on technology, digital citizenship has become a vital area of focus for parents, educators, and individuals. Digital citizenship also involves being an engaged and active member of the online community.

Importance of Digital Citizenship for Educators and Learners 

With isolation and school closures from peers during the lockdown, many students now depend more than ever on technical devices and computers for both socializing and learning. Digital technology at present time offers many benefits, so it is only wise for educators to support digital citizenship for students and themselves.

Let us discuss in brief the importance of digital citizenship –

Digital Literacy 

Today, technology comes in handy in every important aspect of our lives like managing bank accounts, staying in touch with friends, and keeping up with work obligations. So, to succeed in a world dominated by technology, teachers, and students both are required to be digitally empowered. They must be able to efficiently and securely use technology and interactive digital tools for flawless organization and management of all their needs. At present, almost every career involves using digital technology, teaching students’ digital literacy and upgrading yourself as a digital citizen to prepare well for future endeavours.

Equal Access 

As already mentioned the pandemic has highlighted an issue around access to digital education. Teachers must be aware of the fact that not all students have equal access to smartphones, computers, and the Internet thus they must ensure that suitable alternatives are being used to meet the needs of these students and thereafter make arrangements to make them digitally strong. It is also important to understand that all learners, around the world may have different access to technology, either in the home or in their classrooms.

Digital Health

Digital health is about how much screen time learners and teachers spend regularly. It requires thoughtful consideration to balance the use of technology with other aspects of life. The questions that are important to consider in this aspect are-

1. How much time should the students spend on digital devices?
2. What is the purpose of using technology?
3. What are healthy interactions with technology all about?

Educators being themselves digitally sound can teach students about healthy digital technology habits and help them recognize how technology can potentially negatively affect their well-being and support students in building healthy relationships with technology.

Digital Security

Knowing about digital security is part of being a responsible digital citizen. The digital world poses many types of dangers to students and educators. In addition to knowledge related to identity theft, viruses, hacking, and, scams,  students need to be aware of their digital footprints. Students may give out their personal information that can put them in danger. Knowledge about digital citizenship involves helping understand the permanence of any individual’s digital footprints and how to avoid harming themselves or others with what they post online. Educating about digital citizenship involves –

1. Practising effective internet safety practices, such as creating strong passwords and not opening files from unknown senders.
2. Knowledge about using privacy settings helps in determining the storage and use of their information.

Importance of Digital Citizenship for Educators and Learners 

Today, ERP is the means of going digital at schools and educational institutions. Educators must consider preparing their students to perform and thrive in a world mostly dominated by technology at present with a curriculum that is focused on digital citizenship. It will empower students with indispensable knowledge about staying safe and updated.

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