Digital Citizenship

  • Internet Communication

    The Internet has allowed widespread communication between individuals all over the world and just like face-to-face communication. While online communication has drastic differences from face-to-face communication, there is still a civic code that must be followed to ensure the safety of all users.

    What Does it Mean to be a Digital Citizen?

    As people communicate through their computers and smartphones, it may be hard to identify a contact as a physical person. This may desensitize interactions and make people less likely to recognize their misconduct as harmful. It is important to keep the Internet as an environment that allows people to freely express themselves without being ridiculed or degraded.

    Each person can help keep the Internet a safe place by being a digital citizen. Though many of the things that can be done to respect others on the Internet are obvious, many times they are not followed.

    As a digital citizen, these are several factors to take into account for everyone's benefit:

    Accountability

    When using the Internet, understand that everything you say may be seen by others and/or made permanent. Avoid posting biased or false information that promote slanted opinions and misleads the general public. Keeping this in mind, be cautious about self-published or biased sources and do further research on specific details that appear unreliable.

    Each person is also responsible for their use of the Internet and being able to understand and evaluate information online. They must also be able to decide how much screen time is unhealthy and work on real-life relationships as well.

    Accessibility

    Accessibility is a large concern because the public needs to be able to access online resources, particularly those necessary for education. Instructors should provide a method for students to access curriculum from their homes.

    To make resources available to those with disabilities, certain websites must meet specific standards outlined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) contains criteria for various levels of compliance.

    Conduct

    When interacting with others online, it is just as important to be respectful as it is in real life. Do not harshly criticize people online for any reason and avoid joining in conflicts between people. Do not say things you shouldn't say to people in person. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions.

    When you see signs of cyberbullying or inappropiate behavior online, notify higher authorities if possible.

    Security & Privacy

    Security and privacy are critical factors to keep in mind when using the Internet. There are many who don't respect the privacy and well-being of others while using the Internet. 

    To protect yourself on the Internet, you can:

    • Avoid suspicious websites that may harbor malware.
      • Ex. Websites with "https" in their URLs as opposed to "http" indicate a secure connection.
    • Avoid sharing unnecessary and private information about yourself online to avoid confrontation from scammers or predators. 
      • Ex. Do not release any of your passwords to people online.
      • Ex. Many spam phone calls and emails ask for information (SSN, credit card numbers, etc.) under false pretense. If you are unable to verify the sender as someone trustworthy, do not provide information.

    It is also just as important to respect other people's privacy and not interfere with their affairs. This may include sharing or misusing personal information about others. Do not take any actions under someone else's Internet profile without their given consent.

    Ownership

    Digital property falls under the same category as personal property, thus demanding the same treatment. Everyone must learn to respect the copyright law and not misuse intellectual property. To avoid issues, it is better to ask the owner of such property for permission before using it. 

     

    Additional Resources