4 Benefits of Digital Citizenship for Internet Safety

Contributed By

Lauren Davis

EdTech Editor, Former Department Chair and Instructional Coach

4 Benefits of Digital Citizenship for Internet Safety

Posted in Evolving Ed | April 01, 2019

Around one in three educators around the world cite internet safety as the top digital citizenship concern, according to the 2018-2019 Global State of Digital Learning Study. More than 9,000 teachers and administrators from 65 countries who participated in the study said internet safety was a bigger issue than cyberbullying, information literacy, and creative credit and copyright. But what can you actually do about it?

There could be a solution. Teaching students to use technology more responsibly will help them become better "digital citizens." As a result, they’ll be able to browse the internet more safely. Here are four benefits of digital citizenship for internet safety.

1. Students Will Become More Aware of Internet Safety

Many students see the internet as a learning resource or a space to communicate with friends and family. They are unaware of their digital footprint and how their browsing habits can jeopardize their safety.

A proper digital citizenship program, however, will help students learn about how to use the internet in an appropriate way. They will learn about fraudsters and predators, as well as other internet safety concerns. This is something that will benefit them as they continue to use the internet into adulthood.

"Digital citizenship is more than just a teaching tool. It is a way to prepare students and technology users for a society full of technology," says the Digital Citizenship Institute. "Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use."

2. Students Will Think Twice Before Posting Personal Information Online

Seventy-four percent of Americans say it is "very important" for them to have control over their personal information online. However, many young people lack this understanding. Your students might post their names, phone numbers, or other identifying information on websites without thinking twice about the consequences.

Teaching digital citizenship will provide your students with information about when it is appropriate to post personal information online. You can also teach them the warning signs to look out for when someone asks for their personal information and when they should notify an adult. This could prevent students from finding themselves in dangerous situations.

3. Students Will Become More Responsible Social Media Users

It's more than likely that your older students use some form of social media. Seventy-two percent of 13-17 year-olds say they use Instagram, while 69 percent use Snapchat. How many of your students use these platforms responsibly, though?

Digital citizenship can teach students how to use social media properly. You can explain the consequences of posting inappropriate images on these platforms: Attracting unwanted attention from strangers, for example, or jeopardizing their future careers. You can also explain how privacy settings on platforms like Facebook and Instagram can improve internet safety.

4. Students Will Learn About Cybersecurity

Hackers often steal data from schools and students, and this can have major ramifications. However, many educational institutions do not have the resources in place to deal with these cybersecurity threats. Students, in particular, often lack knowledge about hackers, viruses, and other internet security concerns.

This is where a good digital citizenship program comes in. You can teach students about the importance of cybersecurity and the steps they can take to protect data--use passwords, install a firewall, use anti-virus software, update programs, don't download email attachments, etc. This information will particularly benefit younger students who are using the internet for the first time.

The United States Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Education Training Assistance Program (CETAP) provides K-12 educators with cybersecurity resources that can improve internet safety.

"The curricula comprises the Cyber Interstate--a robust library of cyber-based curricula that provides opportunities for students to become aware of cyber issues, engage in cybersecurity education, and enter cybersecurity career fields," says CETAP.

Using a Learning Management System to Teach Digital Citizenship

A learning management system (LMS) will streamline your digital citizenship program and make it easier to track your learning outcomes. These programs let you keep all of your course content in one place, so you have quick access to learning materials and resources. This will expedite learning in the classroom and help you achieve your educational objectives.

A good LMS will also let you track individual students as they progress through your digital citizenship program.

Educators think that internet safety is a huge concern, according to Schoology's recent report, but few of them have incorporated digital citizenship into their learning programs. Teaching your students about online threats will help them become more responsible technology users and provide them with life-long skills. Using learning management software will facilitate this entire process and make it easier to monitor your learning outcomes and the benefits of digital citizenship.

What do you think of these benefits of digital citizenship? Tell us on Twitter @Schoology


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