Navigating the Online World Safely.

The internet provides many benefits, but it also offers a number of risks and dangers. It is important for kids and adults of all ages to prioritize digital citizenship to avoid these dangers. To do this, students must know the nine elements of digital citizenship.


Know Your Rights
All students spend an increasing amount of time connected to digital technology. It’s crucial they learn to harness its benefits while avoiding the pitfalls.

For example, they need to understand their rights online such as freedom of speech versus the fact that information posted on social media can hurt them in job interviews. It’s also important to know how to exercise those rights responsibly, like contacting law enforcement officers and knowing the privacy settings on their social media accounts.

Encourage students to use the internet safely by inviting guest speakers, such as police officers, network security experts and HR professionals, into your classroom to discuss digital citizenship and the real-life dangers they face.

Know Who You Are Talking ToMuch like a real-world community requires people to respect others, digital citizenship extends that concept to the online world. It includes respectful communication, avoiding cyberbullying and adding helpful information to a discussion or wiki page.

Students need to develop empathy in order to read beyond the surface of what they see online. This may prompt them to question a writer’s motivations or reach out with words of comfort to someone they see struggling online.
This also means understanding that the Web is not a neutral space and it is important to distinguish between fact and fiction when sharing information. This can help avoid spreading misinformation and contributing to an online rumor mill.

Know Your Passwords
Much like a real-world community, online citizens interact with content and one another. Good digital citizenship includes communicating respectfully, respecting others’ privacy, seeing things from other perspectives and adding helpful information to conversations.

It’s also important to know your passwords. Choosing secure ones, protecting them and changing them frequently can keep hackers away from your personal information.

It’s also important to avoid clicking links that can lead to viruses or fake news. Many of us have fallen prey to clickbait headlines that deliver heavily biased or false information. That’s why it is important to teach empathy for the way people talk and act online.

Know Your Devices
Digital communication includes knowing the different ways to communicate online such as email, instant messaging, and social media. This also entails understanding the appropriate etiquette for each medium.

Digital commerce means having an understanding of how to use the Internet to purchase things and to understand that credit card fraud is a real threat online. It also entails learning to take precautions such as protecting computer equipment, backing up data, and creating secure passwords to prevent identity theft.

Teaching digital citizenship skills is essential to helping students develop healthy and positive habits in their relationship with the virtual world. The Congressional Digital Citizenship Task Force is committed to continuing to host meetings to address these critical issues.

Digital citizenship encompasses a wide range of skills. From etiquette and ethics to security, students need to know how to protect themselves online from viruses, phishing and other threats. They must also be able to think critically about the information they encounter and consider the context of their online interactions.

Another important aspect of digital citizenship is empathy. Because Internet communication is primarily text-based, it can be difficult to understand someone’s emotional state or to interpret non-verbal cues like body language.
With kids gaining access to devices at younger ages and spending more time on them than ever before, teaching digital citizenship is becoming increasingly crucial. Navigate360 offers a range of social-emotional learning resources to help teachers and school staff promote good digital citizenship.

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