Digital Citizenship

What is Digital Citizenship? I found this video to be a good place to start when researching digital citizenship. What is digital citizenship? What does it look like? Who can do it? Should it be taught in schools? These are just a few questions that popped into my head before beginning research. While researching, all of these questions and more were answered.

What is digital citizenship?

Digital citizenship is learning how to be part of a global community online. The rules are being written as we go which makes it hard to know what it completely entails. In short, digital citizenship shows who you are online. It is your web identity!

What does it look like?

This question is hard to answer because it is unique for every person. The better question is: what should it look like?

Digital citizenship should resemble the type of person you want people to see when they meet you in person. Every person should strive to be ethical and honest. You should not strive to be fake online, but you should strive to know what is right and wrong and chose to post only the right if you decide to post at all.

An example of an unethical online identity is shown in the New Yorker article The Lessons of Steubenville. In this article, the privacy of a young female was unwillingly surrendered when she drank to the point of blackout and was forced into many situations she would not have chosen if she was coherent.

Her online identity was changed along with the online identity of many others who decided to post pictures and videos on many different social media sites in order to brag about what was happening. This leads to the question:

Who can do it?

Everyone is a digital citizen whether they chose it or not. The difference is the amount people use online sources. The more you are online, the larger your online identity grows, making you a bigger digital citizen.

An example of this is a teenager who is always on social media versus a grandparent who can hardly turn on a computer. The teenager is going to have a larger online identity than the grandparent, but the grandparent will still have one. The grandparent without any notice might be included in the posts from others which gives them some online identity.

Should it be taught in schools?

YES! Digital citizenship should be taught in schools. Technology is being seen more-and-more in schools across the globe. Because of this, teachers should take the opportunity to teach students how to be a responsible digital citizen. If more teachers take the time to incorporate the concept into a few lessons, fewer incidents like the one in Steubenville will occur.

I also believe this is an important concept to teach in schools because, for some students, the only stable adult in their life is their teacher. If the teacher does not take time to teach this lesson, how will these students learn to be a responsible digital citizen?

Final Questions!

The final questions that came to my mind are some that we should all consider.

Who are you online?

Are you a responsible digital citizen?



  1. I love your final questions! So many adults and children use online sites which makes it important to maintain digital citizenship. I completely agree that we should be teaching this within the classroom because so many children don’t have supervision and misuse the online media.


  2. Jalee,
    I am glad I am not alone on this stance. It is always comforting to know that someone else believes the same thing. I believe so much misuse can be corrected if digital citizenship was taught in the classroom and not just left to the parents.


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