9 Elements of Digital Citizenship

By: Sherine Ismail


Digital literacy is the act of gathering information online and using that information appropriately, whether it be for a project or something else. For example, students may use the internet to research information about a certain topic for a project. However, using this information must be used/applied appropriately (such as, citing your sources rather than plagiarizing.) Always make sure that your words are your own and represent you as a good person.


Digital etiquette is a collection of rules you should use online and a set of moral behaviors that you should portray. Digital etiquette is used o improve the safety and respect of others on the Internet. In simpler words, if you would not say the words or take part in an action in person, do NOT say/post it online. Digital etiquette has become a very large concern to Internet users because the Internet over the years has had a record of hacking, suicidal deaths, and even invading privacy from those who are not considerate of digital etiquette. Many people commit suicide every year from cyberbullying. If we all take a stand and pledge to show portray more attributes of digital etiquette, we can all help end cyberbullying!


Digital laws are also a set of laws you must portray and follow in order to create a safe and respectful atmosphere online. Digital laws are used to help copyright issues, limits hacking practices, and also protects privacy. Following digital laws is vital to creating a safe place for internet users because it allows for people to have a fun time, yet also reminds people to be mindful of privacy. In addition, digital law also establishes a safe place that people of all ages can enjoy!


Even if you may have the right to do whatever you please, you should ALWAYS consider your own as well as others' privacy and feelings online. It is better to be safe and create a respectful and fun environment online for yourself and others rather than creating an unsafe and miserable place for yourself and other people. A growing increase in private information and offensive words being revealed/used online is starting to become a concern through people disobeying and misusing their rights and responsibilities. You may think, "As an internet user, what responsibilities do I have to accomplish to make the internet a better place?" Well, there are plenty of things! For example, you can encourage others rather than bring them down, stand up for others rather than being a bystander, and more! However, you have rights that you must stand by to make sure that you are presenting yourself online as best as you are in real life.


You may have experienced commerce, or the selling of goods being practiced every day. At stores and even at schools, goods such as food and clothing are being sold and being bought. However, did you also know that you can do this same practice online? You may have experience buying a book or something else from Amazon or searching up how much or where a specific item is being sold. Although online commerce is efficient, however, it can also create a greater chance in fraud if you are not being careful. What I mean by this is, always make sure that you're ordering from sites that are reliable. Some sites may be scammers and take your money without really delivering the product you hoped for. Also, before buying an order, make sure that you review the product from other customers because once you buy it online, you most of the time cannot return it.


Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and any form of social media or platform in which you can connect with others around the world are forms of digital communication. When communicating with others online, you must use appropriate behavior, such as only posting comments you would say in person, that your grandmother could see, comments that would enable people to treat you with respect just as how you are treating them, and comments that would show that you are a great and respectful person! It is important to show great digital communication because communicating online isn't the same as communicating in person; sarcasm and emotion cannot be shown through text, so as a result, the receiver may take the message in a wrong way and may be affected. As an internet user, you should always do your best to make sure that people feel welcomed and safe!


Even though there may seem like there is nothing wrong with staying up all night watching your favorite show or spending countless of nights working on the internet, you are putting yourself in so many health risks when doing this very frequently, such as straining your eyes and gaining weight by not staying active. For example, from staring at your computer or phone all day long can strain your eyes and may even cause a decrease in clear vision. Also, when you are spending so much time on the internet, you tend to be less active. Being less active can result in many health risks such as obesity and heart problems. To reduce the chances of these health risks, you should always set a maximum amount of technology use a week, or reward yourself with a specific amount of time on the internet after spending time working out or finishing homework.


You may complain about your old iPhone 4 or not being able to buy the new iPad when you have a perfectly fine one that works just great. However, do you ever think about those who don't have access to technology? Life is much different for them, they must hand write assignments and must ask a trusted adult a question that they may have. So, always be considerate of others and make sure you are including everyone in an activity online.


"Don't talk to strangers!" - A common phrase we hear as young children, but it does apply to internet communication. When communicating with others online, make sure you do not talk to someone you may not know because you never know when they will ask for your personal information such as your location/address or password. In some cases, people you don't know may manipulate you into thinking that they know you very well and will trick you into meeting up with them. However, always make the right decision and say NO because there are people who are trying to harm you. Also, do not share personal information such as passwords with your friends because they may log into your account and do things that aren't so friendly. Regardless of strangers or your close friends, you should not tell ANYONE your personal information online because you never know what might happen, so it's better to be safe than sorry!