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What Is Digital Citizenship and Why Is It Important?

What Is Digital Citizenship and Why Is It Important

There are billions of users browsing the internet to read the latest news, post on social media, and communicate with others. However, not all people online are as tech-savvy as others, and don’t know how to properly act while using the internet. That’s why it’s important that all online users at least understand what digital citizenship is and why it is important. 

What Is Digital Citizenship? 

Digital citizenship is when a person responsibly uses and accesses technology to engage with their community. However, not all digital citizens are good. A good digital citizen uses technology to connect with other people, educate themselves, and create lasting relationships. A bad digital citizen uses technology irresponsibly to commit crimes and bully others, and has a lack of internet safety knowledge. 

Digital Citizenship Rules You Should Follow

– Only Browse Secure, Legitimate, and Well-Known Websites

For the security of your device and data, only visit and shop on secure, well-known websites. Some examples include Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. When you visit the URL, you will know if it’s secure if the address begins with “https”. If it begins with “http”, it means that the website does not have an SSL certificate to keep the site’s data secure. You may also notice a small lock located to the left of the address bar. If the lock appears to be closed, you can be sure that the site you are browsing is safe.

If you visit unsecure, untrustworthy websites, you are putting your device at risk to hackers, viruses, malware, and other threats. If your device were to get infiltrated, you and your loved one’s data could be stolen, leading to identity theft, blackmail, or unauthorized account access. 

– Avoid Giving Away Your Personal Information To Anyone Online

Once your personal information is out there in the digital world, there’s no getting it back. This information can be used by anyone to claim your identity or access your online accounts. The information you want to avoid giving away includes:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Email Addresses
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit Card Information
  • Date of Birth 

– Treat Others With Respect

Treat others how you would like to be treated, even online. Give everyone respect and kindness, like you would with your parents and siblings. Don’t cyberbully anyone or post negative comments on social media. 

– Report Bad Behavior

What defines bad behavior online? It could be a number of things including harassing or soliciting someone, a stranger communicating with you, or posting inappropriate content. If something you see online is suspicious, inappropriate, or criminal in any way, block and report it to the site manager. 

– Don’t Plagiarize or Copyright

Just because articles, photos, videos, or other content is online, doesn’t mean it’s free to use. If a piece of online content was created and published by someone else, don’t use it without their expressed permission. If you plan on sharing someone else’s content on social media, make sure to credit them.

– Think Before You Post On Social Media

Think before you post anything on social media. Ask yourself: Would I want my family and friends to see this? In general, avoid posting anything on social media that is political, racist, explicit, or hurtful.

– Be Aware Of Your Digital Footprint

As a digital citizen, it’s your responsibility to be aware of what content and information of yours is available online. This includes photos, videos, social media profiles, personal information, articles you’ve written, and more. Conduct a simple Google search of your name to find this out. 

Why Is It Important? 

There are various reasons why it’s important to teach digital citizenship to users of all ages. These reasons include:

  • The use of social media is continuing to grow for all people. It’s important for kids and adults to know how to use the platforms appropriately, and that there are consequences for poor choices they make on them. 
  • Knowing proper digital citizenship rules can help prevent cyberbullying. It also enables good digital citizens to know how to properly report cyberbullies as well. 
  • Professionals and teachers will be able to properly communicate with other professionals or parents. This skill is essential for any adult looking to make it in the workplace. 
  • It teaches young students the digital literacy skills necessary to navigate today’s digital world and use it to their advantage.
  • Knowing how to use technology appropriately can help prevent technology addiction and the health effects associated with it. 

So, whether you are a teacher, parent, business professional, or just an online user, make sure you and those around you understand what it means to be a good digital citizen. The proper use of the internet and technology is very important and easy to learn, you just have to take the time to do so.

Learn More: Social Media Tips For Parents