Every person on this planet is born, lives, and belongs to some country. Therefore we’re all citizens.
Citizenship represents a legal bond between a person and a particular state. It is a connection built on the fundamentals of responsibility and loyalty.
We try to live according to the law and rules, act with manners, and be honest. At the same time, as we all know, we can’t imagine our life without tech devices.
But there are rules that all of us should practice in our tech activity. So, that means digital citizenship also exists.
Let’s see how to properly educate yourself and your children about digital citizenship!
What Exactly is Digital Citizenship?
It means responsible use of technology (Internet, tech devices) while connecting with the community.
Digital citizenship comes with various rules that promise our and our kid’s safety when we are online.
As our children grow, we teach them to be good people, study, be honest and noble, and all other human virtues.
So as we teach them to be good real-life humans, we should teach them how to be good digital humans too.
Why Teach Children About Digital Citizenship?
Children spend most of their days on phones, computers, laptops, consoles, etc. And it’s logical to want to keep them safe because of the major dangers of the digital world.
Also, we must accept that living in a digital world demands respecting rules, norms, and laws (the fundamentals of digital citizenship).
The reason that lies beneath all these rules is probably that the digital world is the largest community in the world, which is hard to control.
We all need to focus and be good digital citizens, including our kids, and communicate online safely and with personal ethics.
Technology and Children
Our kids are tech smarter than us. It’s their time. Technology provides them activity in various aspects of life.
As naive little ones, most pure-hearted children aren’t aware of the tech dangers. The online world can be very dangerous and harm our little ones.
But they also “need” their digital devices, so we can’t just take them away from them. That is why we must teach them to be good digital citizens, with the parole “Don’t harm and you won’t be harmed”.
To protect our cuties from various scams, online hazards, cyber criminals, and bullies, we teach children to respect the rules and guidelines of the digital world.
As we prepare children for real life, we must prepare them for digital life too. So stating the basic rules is a great start to educating children about digital citizenship.
Dangers of the Digital World
Hackers, scammers, trolls, and many more “bad guys” can post as a threat to the safety of our children.
People also often pick up fights with children online. I never understood why? Frustrations or what?
Shortly, children are exposed to all kinds of dangers in the digital world, so good digital etiquette is crucial for their safety.
Anyway, let’s get a more detailed look at the dangers of the digital world.
Social Media Communication
When children use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.), they must develop digital culture, respect the person they’re communicating with, and be respected.
If they get insulting or inappropriate feedback, the block option is always welcomed.
Sharing Photos and Videos
Our kids must be aware of the consequences of posting their photos or videos or sharing someone else’s.
They must know that someone can inappropriately use their photos. Also, our kids must be informed that sharing someone else’s picture is a crime.
So, let them know to keep their profile private and share photos only with family and friends.
Children mustn’t share their passwords and other personal information with people online.
Never let your children use technology unless they’re well aware of this rule.
It’s pretty interesting to be part of some social media group, but it also sparks some dangers.
Our kids must know that they should create a close family and friend groups and not be part of some unknown groups, no matter how curious they are.
Scammers and Hackers
Our children’s brains sometimes can’t detect when someone is hacking or scamming them.
So let them know to keep respectful and politely block them from their social media platform.
Our kids have a lot of fun while playing online games. And it’s OK. They get to compete, relax and have plain old fun.
But dangerous people tend to use games to lure children into believing them. They invent dangerous, life-risking games (like Blue Whale, for example).
I often ask myself, what’s wrong with the “Super Mario Brothers” game? It’s a great game for all ages.
Cyberbullying and Digital Respect
Cyberbullying is real and often present on social media, games, etc. Bullies send negative, mean, harmful, disrespectful messages to shame and hurt the recipient.
Of course, we parents, don’t want our children’s dignity to get crushed by some lame and frustrated couch potatoes.
So, with the help of school teachers and our constant communication, we can make our children aware of the risk of cyberbullying.
I strongly advise you to teach your children to block people that start bullying them online. It’s the best option.
There are a lot of videos appropriate for children helping them understand the point of cyberbullying and the ways of dealing with it.
So, open YouTube and check them out together with your children!
Digital Literacy and its Importance
Digital literacy provides digital rules that our children must follow, as they approach the digital world.
Knowing how to navigate the Internet is crucial for children in the modern age. So, try teaching them how to use a digital device properly before giving it to them.
Evaluation and Conclusion
As we conclude this article, I would like to list the rules every proper digital citizen must follow (yes, again).
- Never give your personal information, name, address, school, passwords, etc.
- Be careful what you post on social media, and always be cautious around strangers.
- Do not share your friend’s (or anyone’s) picture without permission.
- Do not open strange links, download weird apps, play games without a parental advisory, watch videos unsuitable for your age, etc.
So, follow the rules, be a good digital citizen, and let your children follow your example. But don’t forget to stay respectful and positive!