As students spend more and more time online, digital citizenship is becoming increasingly important for students to master. In this article, we discuss techniques and hands-on exercises for promoting digital citizenship in students.
What is Digital Citizenship?
Digital citizenship includes knowledge, skills and practices to engage safely and responsibly in a digital environment. This is considered an important skill for students to protect them from harmful content, cyberbullying, privacy risks, scams, viruses and more.
8 Ideas for Promoting Digital Citizenship in Students
Implementing digital citizenship into your school’s technology curriculum is an important step to promoting digital literacy in students. However, it is not the only step. Teachers and administrators should also implement tools and processes to promote digital citizenship skills in the classroom and at home.
Ask students to create a tutorial or lesson about a specific digital literacy concept. Having them teach other students about digital citizenship can reinforce the skills and values to promote digital citizenship in themselves and others.
Present a scenario and ask students how they would respond if they faced the challenge in real-life. Examples may include:
- Someone you met online says they go to a nearby school and asks you for your home address.
- A website pop-up says you’ve won a gift card worth $500 and asks for your personal information.
- You receive an email from a friend saying they’re stuck in a foreign country and need you to send money so they can get home.
Create a Brochure or Ad
Ask students to create a brochure or ad promoting a digital citizenship skill that is important to them. This can include images, step-by-step instructions, details and descriptions, and more.
Create a “Digital Footprint” Art Project
Use this art project as a follow-up to lessons and conversations about the permanence of digital footprints. Have students draw an artistic representation of what they would like their digital footprint to look like, then write a short essay describing what they would–and would not–share to create this digital footprint, and how they believe others (teachers, friends, parents, potential employers) would view that footprint.
Have your students work together to create promotional posters about different aspects of digital citizenship to hang as reminders in the classroom or library.
Invite guest speakers, such as police officers, network security experts, social media managers, child psychologists, or HR professionals into the classroom to talk about how digital citizenship contributes to their area of expertise. For instance, police officers can talk about the real-world dangers that come with sharing personal information online. Social media managers can talk about cyberbullying and trolls. HR professionals can talk about how they screen the social media profiles of potential employees.
Digital Literacy Tracking Project
Create a “tracking sheet” that students can use to track instances of digital illiteracy faux pas over the course of a week. This can include things like trolling, spam emails, or photos that unintentionally include identifying information such as a house number or license plate, etc.
Take the Lesson Home
Ask students to create a list of rules to teach their family about digital literacy. Have them share with the class what their family
Implement a Digital Literacy Program
Several off-the-shelf digital literacy programs, such as EasyTech, exist to help students learn and master digital literacy. These programs include lessons and concepts, as well as hands-on exercises that help students practice their new skills in real life.