The other side of the online coin is digital citizenship. As we teach students about being a good citizen in their real-life communities, it is time to extend those lessons and discussions to include what a good citizen does online.
Just like in real life, good digital citizens don’t bully. They are polite. They think about how their words make the other person feel. People of all ages tend to quickly sink to rude and bullying exchanges online that they wouldn’t in person. Let’s teach our students to think about the person behind that profile picture.
Be a Leader
Good digital citizens are leaders online. They vet information before they share it. They avoid sharing junk information like memes. They lead by example in how they engage with others and refuse to be baited into name-calling.
Be Careful of Your Digital Footprint
Students also need to think about their permanent online record and how the way they engage online now could impact a future job or other opportunities. There is a saying “The internet never forgets.” Even if you delete something, you never know who downloaded it or took a screenshot. With internet archive tools like the Way Back Machine, everything that has ever been posted online is archived and retrievable.