There are so many parts to digital citizenship that it does require some scientific (figuratively speaking) understanding. There tends to be a lot of trial and error – people do experiment with what and how they act online and what they share.
Digital citizenship could be broken into four parts:
This is the main part. Technology has allowed everyone to engage with more people, explore more information and communicate with people who they do not meet in real life. Technology devices track where people have been, where they are and allow them to share what they are doing. There are age limits, but these are not always followed.
Most social media sites have the legal age of use of 13. It could be debated whether that age is suitable or whether it should it be lowered. Or is 13 still too young? If the age of reason is seven, why is the age for joining and participating online not seven years old? It cannot be denied that children who are under 13 and are as young as seven are engaging on social media sites. Children play video games, many of which require an account to be set up and signed in. These are the experiences that children of today are involved in and what they need is the right education and guidance on how they are perceived online.
What is put online needs to be skillfully arranged. Adults need to own their behaviour and educate the younger generation to do the same. Manners are still needed, right? Manners still exist online and are appreciated when they are used, but if they are not used how do people feel? Some people are still bothered, but unfortunately a lot do not take much notice. This can then have an impact on how users are perceived, remembered and judged.
Are these same values still as important for adults online? Is it important that children are educated about it? Of course, there are many programs and schools have participated in many programs that help students understand what having a digital profile means.
The author’s advice to anyone who has a digital footprint is that users should do what they like, be themselves and do what makes them happy – but always own their behaviour and their words. The difference between accidentally insulting someone with spoken words and typing it online is that it never really goes away online – anyone can screenshot a comment or conversation and it will be around forever.
It has to add up! Passwords need to be changed regularly, location services need to be deactivated and everyone needs to be aware of perception – does what they put online add up to who they want to be known as?
Children should also be aware when referring back to following guidelines. If they can lie about their age, so can many others lie about who they are. Users always need to make sure it all ‘adds up’.
Magdalene Mattson (@madgiemgEDU)
Known to many as Maggie, she is an enthusiastic Primary educator with a passion for creative arts and nurturing student creativity. She has a commitment to collaborative teaching and learning and making sure all students have a sense of achievement in her classroom. Maggie co-founded #culturebox, is a co-moderator of #aussieED and is a Google Certified Teacher. She will soon complete a Masters in Theological Studies.