The current generation of students are very comfortable around technology, often more so than us teachers. Therefore, it can be easy to assume that they understand the concepts behind the technology and can operate it safely. Unfortunately, because children are using the technology from such a young age, often before they can talk, they are not explicitly taught about the risks of sharing information. Children are born into a safe secure environment where they can freely share information with those around them and trust that it won’t be used against them. When a child is given access to the Internet through apps, software and social networking, it is similar to letting them walk around the shopping centre. You would not allow your young child to go out unsupervised or any child alone without first teaching them about stranger danger, manners and road safety. The same must be said for the Internet. Young children should not be using the Internet unsupervised when they do not understand the ramifications of their actions. Children must be educated about Internet safety and etiquette, and become aware of the dangers that they may face before being allowed free access. This needs to be taken into account at schools also. Internet use should be supervised the way any excursion to a public place is supervised with both educator and parent bearing some responsibility for the education of the child. The same expectations should apply for digital citizens in a virtual world as apply for citizens of the real world.
“digital citizenship means the ability to use technology safely, responsibly, critically, and pro-actively to contribute to society.” (http://ecitizenship.csla.net/)
Respect Your Self/Respect Others
Educate Your Self/Connect with Others
Protect Your Self/Protect Others
- Rights and Responsibility
- Safety (Security)
- Health and Welfare
- Protect private information for themselves and others.
- Respect themselves and others in online communities
- Stay safe online by listening to their gut feelings
- Stand up to cyber bullying when they see it happening
- Balance the time they spend using media and doing other activities
- Digital Access: full electronic participation in society.
- Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods.
- Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information.
- Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
- Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
- Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
- Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
- Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
- Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
These are reflected in the Australian Curriculum ICT Capabilities and Education Queensland’s Student ICT Expectations. More detail on these nine elements can be found at http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/uploads/LL2008DCArt.pdf