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Why Digital Citizenship Matters Now For Students

Why Digital Citizenship Matters Now For Students

Posted on : June 15th 2022

Author : Sanjeev Jain

During the pandemic, much of education and communication moved online, bringing students a new reality and resulting in teachers’, parents’, and even students’ obligations going beyond the classroom and into the world of computers, handheld devices, and software. Teaching students to use digital assets responsibly and including digital citizenship in curricula is a significant yet essential part of helping them develop a strong relationship with the world around them later in life.

Digital citizenship primarily means students conscientiously using technology, and helping students achieve and understand digital literacy, prevent cyberbullying, and ensure their online safety, digital responsibility, and digital health, hygiene, and wellness is critical.

Effective engagement with digital technology includes the following:

  • Access: By now, many children have internet access at home and an array of digital tools at their disposal for accessing their class.
  • Use: Despite widespread access, a gap between the use of digital technology and corresponding skills still exists—especially between students from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Because this gap worsened during the pandemic, educational institutions need an inclusive approach to ensure all students have equal and fair access to technology and learn the skills that will make them active and ethical users of digital technologies.

What Is the Need to Teach Students Digital Citizenship?

New technology, platforms, apps, and websites are created every day, and increasingly, online communication is becoming a common and necessary means of connecting with people. Technology, an essential and effective tool for success, helps students in their personal and educational lives. Learning digital citizenship gives students the knowledge, skills, and resources required to succeed as lifetime learners, helping them confidently and responsibly engage with the online world and develop into leaders who will have a meaningful impact on others.

The following digital literacy tips can help students:

  1. Information Learning and Knowledge
    Today, students access information from several online resources, such as Wikipedia and Google. The challenge lies not in the availability of information but in students’ ability to sift through all the information, understand it, and use it. What use are hundreds and thousands of online results if students cannot pick the best, most relevant information from the available content or differentiate helpful information from poor? Digital literacy gives students the skills and understanding needed to benefit from using technology and the internet in the most effective ways to help them compete effectively in personal and educational lives.

  2. Preventing Cyberbullying
    With the widespread use of technology for communication, a growing concern for teachers, parents, and students is the increase in cyberbullying. Establishing guidelines, incorporating lessons to teach responsible online communication and etiquette, and repeating anti-cyberbullying lessons help students better understand the dangers lurking in the cyberworld. Creating lists of digital citizenship rules, such as dos and don’ts, and teaching these to the students are always good places to start.

  3. Online Safety We all know that the internet is a source of good and bad things, so teaching students online safety is undoubtedly a crucial life lesson. Having the knowledge and understanding of online security, students can take charge of their digital lives and thwart online threats. To prepare students to be digitally safe, teachers and parents must teach them to protect their identities by visiting only approved websites and not posting personal information about themselves, parents, or anyone they know.

  4. Digital Responsibility
    “With great power comes great responsibility”—this adage holds true for the internet. While the online world gives users the power to create and define their digital experiences, it’s also a space where people can become erratic. From an early age, students must be taught about wisely using the internet, such as how to avoid plagiarizing content, and about potential threats, including piracy, viruses, malware, and hacking, among other issues. Doing so is essential to their long-term academic and professional success.


Across much of the world, students are still studying online and accessing computers and mobiles for much of the day; knowingly and unknowingly, they are exposed to the global online community. However, digital citizenship isn’t just about dos and don’ts; it’s also about harnessing the power of technology to create a positive experience for all stakeholders involved—primarily students, their parents, and teachers.

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