Digital Citizenship

How to Survive (safely!) Online!

Access

What is the Digital Divide?


There are a lot of people who can access and use different forms of technology and communication tools, but not everyone has the ability to use the growing number of digital tools in our society. Many times, these opportunities are available to certain groups of people. What's more surprising is this: even through the price of technology is dropping and access is rising, the gap between those who do and do not have access to technology is widening.


Over 50% of Americans now have access to the internet; however, there are some members of low income and rural communities who are still disconnected from digital communication. Those who are disconnected are missing out on some of the great things that the internet can provide -- whether it's finding jobs, communicating with others, paying bills or furthering their education. Check out this cool infographic about who does and does not use the internet.


These great things don't just come with having access to the internet though. A person needs to understand how to be a good digital citizen in order to get the most benefit from the internet in the safest manner. This page will help you explore some of the ways to be an educated digital citizen!

Communication

Smart phones, tablets, social media, e-mail -- these things have changed the way people communication. On one hand, we have the ability to get in touch with friends and family almost instantly; we can hear news from around the world as it's happening; we can follow our favorite shows or celebrities and stay up-to-date!


On the other, cyberbullying is starting to become an issue. Text lingo (abbreviations, hashtags, etc.) are moving into casual and formal writing at home and at school. Likewise, some people are using digital communication without thinking about the risks and consequences -- something that matters when what you put out there pretty much stays out there. Here's a clip on communicating online safely.

Literacy

When we look at sources of information of any kind, it's important to consider the reliability of that source. This is even more important when we are using the internet, because any body and put information out there. So, when you are searching for information on the internet, consider these questions to yourself to see if it's a good source to use.

  1. Who created this information and why? What knowledge or skills do they have in the area?
  2. Is it based on fact or opinion? Could the information be meant as humorous, a parody, or satire?
  3. Is the information from an established organization, or are they from an individual?
  4. Is this information accurate? Are the sources truth worthy? How do you know?
  5. Is the information current? What is the copyright or update date?

Watch this video to learn more!

Etiquette

Just like you can have good etiquette in person, you can have good etiquette online! Here are two resources you can use to review good "netiquette."

Safety

Being safe online is also important! With just a little bit of information provided by you, a person could track even more information on you -- eventually leading to personal information you don't want online! Tracking Teresa shows what people might want to get from you and how you can avoid it!


You also want to consider viruses that could come on your phone or computer! It's important that you have virus protection, backups of data, and control of your equipment.


Last, as responsible digital citizens, you want to protect your personal information and reputation from harm.

Rights and Responsibilities