Modern people have a double life. The first side of our daily routine is the real world which we can see, smell, and touch. The second side is a web space where all we exchange information, rest, and work.These two aspects have much in common. Just like in real society, a person should know basic rules of conduct and understand how to protect oneself from threats while using the Internet. That is why the concept of digital citizenship becomes increasingly important. If you have a rather vague idea of DC and its elements, this article from Pro-Papers should help you to dot some I’s.
What is digital citizenship?
Let’s start with the word “citizenship”. It means that a person belongs to a certain community, not only gets a legal status but also develops an appropriate behavior style, self-awareness, respects internal values and regulations, should know culture and history of a certain district or social group.
Digital citizenship is rather close to this concept but brings it to the online space. A web user should fit harmoniously into the Internet community, be able to interact with other people, observe netiquette, protect one’s privacy, not use available information to harm others, share only useful and inoffensive content, and develop correct consumption habits in order to maintain the ecology of webresources.
It is theresponsibility of each person to become a good digital citizen. Also, support of educational institutions would be very helpful. In the modern world, DC skills are no less important than the ability to read, write, and count. That is why computer literacy and digital citizenship should be incorporated into academic policies.
Elements of digital citizenship
DC presupposes unlimited access to information for everyone, which seems to be impossible under some circumstances. Let’s draw a parallel with problems of non-digital society: poor education and medicine, the lack of food and water, religious and racial discrimination. Although it is believed that all people should receive equal resources, humanity still has not found ways to ensure this equity, which is the reason for most wars and social conflicts.
In the same way, not all people can take advantage of technology. But pursuing democratic values in online space is a noble goal, and those who promote the culture of digital citizenship definitely do the right thing. More people, in more locations benefit from online access with each year, and it is worth supporting this trend.
The Internet starts to resemble a huge mall where everyone can find the necessary goods. A number of online stores constantly grows. It is possible to buy almost everything without learning home, by making just several mouse clicks. Digital citizens should embrace e-commerce to make their lives easier, while businesses – more profitable and successful. It is important to ensure safe and fair online trade, protect web users from scammers, and make banking operations secure.
Digital citizens exchange huge amounts of information. Social networks, e-mail,instant messengers, forums, blogs, videoconferencing – there are countless ways to communicate online, which opens new opportunities for international cooperation and cultural exchange.
It is worth supplementing real interaction with technology rather than completely replacing it. People should not lose their humanity by fully immersing in the web space and continue communicating face to face. This is the best way to preserve a balance and take the most benefit of digital citizenship.
Digital citizens should share the knowledge about technology, help other people to join their ranks, encourage the acquisition of skills which modern Internet users should have, create the positive image of innovations in society, and show how they can contribute to personal, academic, and labor goals of each person.
You have probably met people speaking on the phone loudly in public places or posting offensive comments in social networks. These are examples of how technology should not be used. Probably it is way too late to instill etiquettein adult people, but the educational system still can influence students’habits.
There are situations when smartphone use is inappropriate and phrases which should not be posted on the web. Educators and parents should become good role models and help kids make the first steps in the digital world. Some rules should be established. For example, young people should not take smartphones in their hands while sitting at a dining table. Such behavior is as rude as eating without cutlery.
There are certain laws in each country, city, or district. The Internet also has behavior and interaction laws which should be respected. Plagiarism, stealing, and cyberbullying should be strictly controlled and punished. The web space is such huge universe that it is challenging to police it. Many copyright and trademark laws are violated today, which creates a wide field for development and improvement. Digital citizens should report controlling bodies about illegal actions, popularizerespect for laws, and reproach theft.
Rights and responsibilities
The Internet provides boundless freedom which, however, is not always used responsibly. Sadly, but the most common way to maintain order is limiting access. For example, students using smartphones for entertainment at lessons are usually prohibited to bring their devices to school, which adversely affects those who would like to use gadgets for educational purposes. Therefore, if digital citizens want to preserve their rights, technology should be used reasonably, keeping in mind all possible consequences.