It’s so important to teach digital citizenship
This conversation is sponsored by Google for Education as part of the Forward Influence Network but all opinions are my own.
I know some people who buy their child’s name as a website domain name shortly after they are born, just so they’ll have it someday to do whatever they want with it.
I also know others who create Facebook profiles and Instagram accounts for their children so they can post pictures and cute memories of them there for them to have someday, as an online journal of sorts.
I have other friends who share all sorts of details and pictures and quotes of their children on the internet long before they will ever know what the internet is (which is why I recommend parents stop sharing certain information in social media posts).
The reality is our kids are growing up in a digital age unlike any of us have ever known (and I grew up with computers in my home and at school). Our children cannot escape their digital citizenship!
The question is what are we going to do to help them navigate this digital citizenship in smart ways? What are we going to do not only for internet safety for
That’s where I hope this article is helpful.
What is Digital Citizenship?
Wikipedia define a digital citizen as “a person utilizing information technology (IT) in order to engage in society, politics, and government” and as “those who use the Internet regularly and effectively” and as someone who understands “the appropriate use of technology.”
Generally, people refer to themselves as digital citizens if they are on the computer extensively by creating online content via
But, it encapsulates anyone who has any presence online, even with something as simple as having an email address or making a purchase online or someone posting a picture of them online.
It is because of this that access to the internet is so important in our societies worldwide! It’s how ideas are spread through communities today, encouraging civic discourse, and digital access is the first of the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. The nine elements of digital citizenship are:
- Digital Access
- Digital Commerce
- Digital Communication
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Etiquette
- Digital Laws
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities
- Digital Health and Wellness
- Digital Security
Digital citizenship for Kids
Digital citizenship is a guarantee for our children as they grow up in the era of social media and instant internet accessibility.
Our children are growing up in a world where online communication is the main form of communication across the board in almost every aspect of their lives.
Nearly every place they go has Wi-Fi from stores to schools to homes. Even places like public libraries and parks can be found with Wi-Fi!
Teachers expect children to complete many assignments through the use of the internet.
Many homes have personal assistant devices which allow them to access the power of Google at any time.
The internet is already so widely available to children everywhere they go and will only increase in availability by the time they are adults.
And that is why teaching kids digital citizenship from young ages is so important!
In fact, in a December 2018 Google Survey, 96% of teachers and parents agree that online safety and digital citizenship should be taught to all children!
Young children may not understand exactly what the internet is, or how it works, but they likely know how to access information through it and they likely enjoy that access!
I know my young 3-year-old daughter loves telling our Google Home devices to start or stop
The reality is that digital citizenship is crucial to preparing our children to live in a society full of technology.
They can’t escape technology. But, they can abuse it or be abused by it if they are not taught how to properly use it.
That’s what teaching digital citizenship is all about.
There are simple things you can do at any age to teach digital citizenship to kids, though 7-8 years old is the recommended age to begin learning about online safety and digital citizenship.
Digital Citizenship L
I had the privilege taking my kids to the Safer Internet Day celebration in San Antonio this past Monday, February 4, 2019, where Google (the king of the Internet) led amazing discussions about how our kids can Be Internet Awesome.
Google breaks down this idea of digital citizenship for kids into five main pillars:
- Smart. Share with Care
- Alert. Don’t Fall for Fake
- Strong. Secure Your Secrets
- Kind. It’s Cool to Be Kind
- Brave. When in Doubt, Talk It Out
Each of these five areas
However, 93% of teachers and 83% of parents in the recent Dec 2018 Google survey said they think kids should learn about online safety in school and at home, with 90% of teachers saying they believe parents should be doing more to keep students safe online, but only 30% felt confident that they knew enough about online safety to speak about it, and 70% of parents said they would find online safety workshops useful.
That’s why I was super excited to hear that Google listened to this feedback and launched a Be Internet Awesome Family Guide!
Home will always be the foundation of any child’s learning and healthy online habits are no different.
The Be Internet Awesome Family Guide is perfect for helping you Come Together for a Better Internet with your family. It goes through each of the five pillars of their digital citizenship curriculum gives you goals, thought-prompts to help you figure out your own preferred house rules for kids computer use, vocabulary, family activities
You can follow up and check their understanding by playing that pillar’s concepts on the Google Interland game (and rewards the kids for the discussion at the same time).
Google also just launched their Family Link app that helps parents set digital ground rules at home by allowing them set content and screen time restrictions, get app activity reports, hide apps, remotely lock a child’s device, or turn on a device location. You can learn more about the Family Link app here.
As we homeschool, my children will not be learning from educators in a school classroom about these things so I am grateful to have this amazing resource, and for free!
My kids enjoy playing the Interland game quite a bit too. It’s challenging to them but also teaches them some important things about navigating the online landscape.
It also helps me know what they don’t understand in terms of digital citizenship for kids so I can know what we need to discuss more outside the game and before I give them unfettered access to the internet.
I want to protect my children from inappropriate content, but also from cyber-bullying and from fake things online.
I want them to be wise and prudent and kind digital citizens! I want them to not only know how to use technology but use it without being unintentionally hurt (or hurting others) in the process.
I highly recommend checking out the Be Internet Awesome program from Google if you are looking for digital citizenship lessons for your students or children (or grandchildren).
The internet can control them someday, or they can learn to control and wield it to work in their favor.