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How to Teach Digital Citizenship to Students

Children today are familiar with the digital world better than we could even imagine. That is why they are most often called digital natives.

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But the question is – if they are already so skilled in using smart devices, do they really need any guidance regarding the same? 

You can look around and see how even 3-year-olds are accessing the internet unsupervised. However, the online world can be way too risky if they don’t know about the dos and don’ts of living in it. We as adults can protect them from these vulnerabilities by teaching them the basic netiquette necessary for today’s advanced world. 

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Who Is Responsible for Teaching Digital Citizenship?

Parents and every teacher who uses technology as a means to deliver lessons should take it upon themselves. Students use the internet for many educational purposes, such as finding a cheap research paper writing service or conducting thorough research for assignments. 

Teaching students the important aspects of navigating through the digital world should be a mandatory class routine. 

With technology creeping up into our homes after COVID-19, every parent should supervise their children’s activities on the internet. On the other hand, teachers should primarily include this skill in their curriculum to safeguard students from the dangers of overexposure to the internet. 

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Elements of Digital Citizenship You Should Teach

Digital citizenship is not different from citizenship as we know it. The basics are the same – be kind to others, be mindful of what information you share, and don’t use other’s properties without authority. 

To help your students develop an understanding of digital citizenship, you can include the below elements in your lessons. 

The Importance of Passwords

Password security is an important facet of digital well-being. Guide your students to keeping strong alpha-numeric combinations as passwords. You can also help them understand the necessity of choosing different passwords for different applications. 

Password leaks can give a hacker easy access to your bank and personal accounts as well as other sensitive information. Show them how to enable two-step verification and other security measures for higher protection on online banking and other crucial systems. 

They should also have a secure app to store their passwords because memorizing passwords for so many sites is a tough task. 

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Umm… Fake or Genuine?

The majority of learning comes from the internet today. Students search for all kinds of information online as well as use custom dissertation writing service platforms. Digital literacy makes students aware of the legitimacy of the information they are referring to, especially if it is for academic purposes, as the internet is full of false and misleading data. 

Besides, many links carry potential virus threats. So, teach your students how they can escape from clicking on clickbait and identify fake websites. You must also show them ways to verify a piece of news before believing it or using it in their academics. 

This learning also requires you to help them identify malicious emails and even games that install malicious software in the background. 

Personal Information Is Called Personal for a Reason

It is so easy to overshare in today’s world of social media, where everyone likes to stay connected 24/7. While a student can take it for granted, you must teach them how they should protect their identification number, email address, residential address, phone number, or even car number. 

This data can make a person easily vulnerable to threats. Also, their daily activities, people they regularly meet, their family members and friends, etc., can reveal a lot about them. So, teach your students to be careful about whom they share their personal moments with. 

Social Media Isn’t a License to Be Mean

Young people may easily assume that since many of their online connections are just strangers, they can be arrogant or mean to them. You should teach them that every online activity of theirs develops a digital persona that is hard to erase. 

This digital persona is even used in many organizations to judge a candidate before hiring them. Your students must carry online etiquette and be respectful with everybody in the online space too. Their comments and posts on any forum should not reflect hatred, racism, bullying, or any other negative traits. 

They should be kind to people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, trying to be as empathetic as one can be. 

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Stealing Without Knowledge

Many students are not aware of copyrights. They share any picture they find on Google without checking twice. Some people also give credit to Google Images, which is not reasonable. You should include the lessons about copyrights and creative rights in your curriculum so that they can stay away from violating these rules. 

You should also help them understand the importance of asking permission from people they have a picture with before posting it online. Citing an original source of information in research work or essays is also a part of copyright policy. 

Saying No to Cyberbullying

In the digital space, cyberbullying has become quite a common concern. Along with all the elements of digital citizenship, you should not forget to include protection from cyberbullying and cybercrimes in your lessons. 

Every government has regulations and laws for cybercrimes, and students must have profound knowledge about them. You can also show them ways to identify red flags and patterns to any kind of potential crimes or bullying against them. 

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This knowledge and understanding are very crucial for their digital well-being. Many students fall into stress and anxiety due to such threats. Kids also witness a poor academic performance and many more negative aspects of such irresponsible actions online. 

Summary

Citizenship in general and digital citizenship are more or less the same, except the fact that the behavior and etiquette of real-life are talked about in the digital aspect. Teaching students all about digital citizenship at an early age can save them from many problems while helping them make the most of what the world wide web has to offer. 

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