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Raise your hand if the terms digital citizen and digital citizenship are new to you. They were for me, and I am technically a millennial. I am the in-between millennial that didn’t have access to a computer at home until I was about 12, and even then, the Internet was dial-up. Growing up kids my age did not own a cell phone, especially with Internet access! Middle schoolers did not have a camera unless it was disposable. And nobody had access to various social networks that could be updated with our whereabouts, our interests, our friends, or pictures. The world today’s kids are living in is entirely different than the world that was available to us just 15 years ago. It is essential to teach digital citizenship to our kids at an early age, just as you educate them on not getting into a car with a stranger it is pertinent that they are taught how to be safe and respectful online.

First, let’s define digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is defined by the quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.

Now, let’s go over the term digital citizen. A digital citizen is a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the Internet and other digital technology, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and civic activities.

There are 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship. Here they are:
1. Digital Health & Wellness: Physical & psychological well-being in a digital world. Technology can provide us with many opportunities, fun, and enjoyment. Knowing how to balance technology with family, friends, work, and school work is all part of having a healthy life.

2. Digital Security: Electronic precautions to guarantee safety. Understand software viruses and bots so that you can keep your devices safe from cyber attacks.

3. Digital Rights & Responsibilities: Those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world. Teach kids that when they are given the opportunity to have access to technology, they are also obligated to tell an adult when someone is in harm online.

4. Digital Literacy: Teaching and learning about technology and it’s purpose. The more digitally-fluent students are, the more likely they are to make good decisions online.

5. Digital Law: Electronic responsibilities for actions and deeds. Just like in the real, physical world, there needs to be standards and structure for keeping people safe. Provide guidance on cyberbullying and sexting.

6. Digital Etiquette: Electronic standards of conduct or procedure. Being aware of others is always an important idea. Be kind.

7. Digital Communication: Electronic exchange of information.

8. Digital Commerce: Electronic buying & selling of goods. Teach the safety of online banking and purchasing from reputable sites.

9. Digital Access: Full electronic participation in society. This refers to all students having equal access to technology and online resources both at school and at home.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Citizenship

Giving your kids access to technology is a wonderful thing! With the 9 P’s of digital citizenship you can keep your kids safe while they are online. Going over the 9 P’s will also assist you in establishing clear ground-rules for acceptable and unacceptable online behavior. Here are the 9 P’s of Digital Citizenship:  
Passwords: Create a secure password. Never use your online banking password for another site.

Privacy: Utilize privacy settings on your social media accounts.

Personal Information: Do not share your address, school you attend, or other identifying info with strangers online.

Photography: Be aware that sometimes identifying information can be revealed in photos. Turn off geotagging on social networks.

Protection: Keep your devices safe from vulnerabilities such as viruses, malware, phishing, and ransomware.

Property: Respect copyright and the intellectual property of others. Generate a license for your work.

Professionalism: How you act socially online is not how you should conduct yourself academically. Use proper grammar and netiquette.

Permissions: Properly document and source work that you take online.

Permeance: Everything you do online creates your digital footprint. Choose wisely what you post and say online because it is there forever.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Citizenship

Child or adult, every good digital citizen should be asking these 6 questions before they post anything online.
1. Would this person mind if I shared this information?
2. Would I like it if someone shared this about me?
3. Would I do or say this in-person?
4. Am I breaking the law or violating school or my parent’s policies?
5. Does this behavior represent who I am and my digital footprint?
6. Am I doing this because of an emotional reaction?

Beginner's Guide to Digital Citizenship

This is for everyone online, THINK before you post!

Beginner's Guide to Digital Citizenship

Does your child’s school incorporate digital citizenship in their curriculum? Tell us in the comment section below 🙂