Freedom of the Digital Citizen

by Priyanka Raha ~ May 31, 2018

DigitalCitizenship

If you read my last blog you know we are eager about mentoring safe practices to the digital citizens. This week we are diving straight into talking about freedom of the digital citizen.

Why? Because being a citizen entitles one to have the rights and privileges of a freeman. The Memorial Day this week got me thinking about the significance of freedom, the sacrifice it takes from our brave soldiers to establish that and how we must protect and honor it.

We live in a free world. As free citizens it is a little hard to comprehend the subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. So as I was speaking to my 7-year old about the power of freedom we went through hypothetical scenarios of what it would mean to not have freedom. It could be freedom of any kind – speech, act or thought. We relied on stories from history.

The more I thought about freedom I realized that I will have to educate my child on what freedom means in the digital world as he is growing up in an age where online presence is as significant (if not more) as one’s physical presence. 73% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 have social network profiles. 93% of teenagers use the internet to go online.

Digital Citizenship is no longer an add-on term, it is how we should be teaching our children. Freedom goes hand-in-hand with responsibilities. As free digital citizens we have responsibilities, ones that we must not ignore.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a nonprofit membership association for educators focused on educational technology, vehemently focusses on Digital Citizenship as a component in it’s standards for students. Students understand human, cultural and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. So how do we teach our children about responsible digital citizenship.

I realize the following is not a comprehensive list but it is a good one to begin with. 

I will use my personal device for educational purposes only when I am at school.

I will make sure I am safe and appropriate when I am online.

I will protect my private info and the information of others.

I will respect myself and others when I am online.

I will use kind words on social media and remember that my ‘digital footprint’ should not harm others.

I will stand up and say no to cyberbullying.

I will tell an adult if someone is being unkind or harmful.

What do you think are other things that can be added to this list?