Elements of Digital Citizenship

digital citizenship

Being good citizens can mean connecting with others, exercising empathy, and forming friendships. The concept of digital citizenship is quite similar, but it involves using modern devices like computers to form those connections.

With the world spinning toward virtual gatherings and learning more than ever before, it’s never been more important to understand the concept of digital citizenship

Generally, this can be summed up with nine elements and there are a plethora of activities to teach digital citizenship. Here, we’re providing an overview of those nine tenets to ensure you — and your tech-savvy kids or students — are mindful of how you’re exercising digital citizenship.

Be sure to download the Digital Citizenship PDF
resources found at the end of this page.

1. Digital access

Not everyone can afford modern technology. We should strive to accommodate people with less digital access by providing alternatives to classroom assignments or making required technology available.

2. Digital etiquette

Those who aren’t used to computers may take online feedback personally. Anonymous online profiles can make people feel combative and negative. However, by teaching digital etiquette, we can learn to treat digital interactions the same as real ones.

3. Digital commerce

Digital commerce has become commonplace — people of all ages buy things online. Without knowledge of digital commerce, people’s personal information can be put at risk. Teaching online safety how to properly navigate the web can help us understand how to avoid putting our personal information at risk.

4. Digital rights and responsibilities

Using anonymity to bully people on the internet takes away their right to be safe online. Teaching digital rights and responsibilities means teaching that respecting people online is just as important as respecting them in real life.

5. Digital literacy

Digital literacy involves spreading awareness of these nine elements and helping others treat the internet responsibly. It also teaches people to recognize fake information. Since so many vital social interactions happen online, staying safe and productive now includes understanding the difference between genuine and harmful content.

6. Digital law

The internet may appear abstract, but it has its own laws that everyone must follow. You can break copyright law by uploading someone else’s content or steal someone’s identity by hacking their email. And these crimes are just as severe as their real-life counterparts. We need to know and respect digital law so we can follow it and keep ourselves safe.

7. Digital communication

Everyone with access to the internet has a digital voice that they can use to express themselves. This freedom can tempt people to express anger or spread misinformation. Respectful, productive digital communication requires thinking of these communications professionally, rather than emotionally.

8. Digital health and wellness

Knowing when to unplug from a device or the internet is another element of digital citizenship. Monitoring the amount of time we’re eying screens and also our ergonomic setups all play into our health and wellness.

9. Digital security

Viruses, scams, malware, and other cyber threats exist. Being a digital citizen means understanding best practices for how to avoid them, including how to protect our devices and respond to digital security issues when they do happen.

Downloadable Resources

The nine elements of digital citizenship teach us how to treat each other and how to stay safe online. The internet can be a productive, amazing place where people make new friends, find new jobs, and learn new things.  If we all exercise these nine elements of digital citizenship, that makes for a more positive digital world for everyone.

Norton Digital Citizenship for StudentsHere are some PDF downloads provided by Norton, who has created the following digital citizen resources for students.

Choose the resources that suit the age of your students.

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