Digital Citizenship Defined

         Week one in my 5316 digital learning and leadership class has introduced me to digital citizenship in a very in depth way. I thought I knew the difference between citizenship and digital citizenship, and I did to a small degree. There is much more to having good digital citizenship than I was aware of. After a lot of reading and research about the two I have come to the conclusion that there is not a lot of difference between digital citizenship and citizenship. I define Digital Citizenship as being responsible, respectful, courteous, and safe while using anything digital. Including, but not limited to computers, phones, tablets, cameras, or ipods. This is important to instill in our students because everything they are doing now will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

         Someone who displays good citizenship, is respectful, responsible, mindful of others needs, courteous, and portrays safety for themselves and others. This correlates very closely to digital citizenship. So in my opinion the only difference in the two definitions is that one revolves around everything digital and the other does not. We should be modeling and teaching our students to act in the same manner when we are using technology as we would if we were face to face with someone. It is very important that we keep in mind when we are working, playing, sharing, and communicating that there is a person on the other side of the computer we are sending information to. Although we are using a digital tool as a device for communicating, we are still conversing with a person and we must always be mindful of that.      

         There is more to using the internet or any digital tool correctly and safely than I thought. Our students are creating their personal digital footprint now, while under our supervision. That puts a lot of responsibility on teachers. This week I have learned that using and instilling Ribbles (2015) nine elements of good digital citizenship in my classroom is not only beneficial, it is a requirement. Ribble shares these elements – etiquette, access, law, communication, literacy, commerce, rights/responsibility, safety, and health/welfare that must be shared and enforced in the classroom in order for our students to become good digital citizens. I have went through the list and recognized the elements that I use almost daily and the ones that I need to spend more time learning and sharing with my students.  

          In conclusion, teaching and modeling good digital citizenship is just as, if not more important, as teaching and modeling citizenship. We as teachers must do what we can to make sure our students are aware of and abiding by all the local, state, and national rules and regulations while they are in our care. Hopefully we can instill in our students good digital citizenship and teach them right from wrong so they will make good choices when they are not in our care.

Some useful references I have found this week are:

Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. Retrieved from icitizen_paper_M_Curran.pdf )



Heick, T. (2013, May 2). Definition Of Digital Citzenship. Retrieved from

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf)

Polgar, D. R., & Curran, M. B.F.X. (2015). We shouldn’t assume people know what digital citizenship is. Retreived from




Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education



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