Digital Citizenship: Yours Mine Ours


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  • What is a Citizen – A native inhabitant or denizen of a particular place. (Citizen, 2010)   What is citizenship? – the way a person behaves towards other people their demeanor, deportment, behaviour or the duties and responsibilities that come with being a member of a community. (Citizenship, 2001, p260)   For as long as people have lived in communities there have been standards of expected and accepted behaviour belonging to each particular social group. These expectations are constantly evolving and are defined by the group such as our family, friends, religion, school, town, city, country. Each of these groups will have particular expectations of the way we behave within them, some of these expectations will be explicit and some will be implicit but whatever the expectations and standards are we have to learn them and this process starts from the moment we are born. Digital citizenship is a relatively new terminology which relates to accepted levels of behaviour and communication in the online world. Expectations of online behaviour and communications are evolving constantly however they are entrenched in the propriety of today’s society.   More and more our children are utilising online media for their leisure as well as their learning. Students have an online presence through school from the day they start and we are teaching them to engage with this environment. The elements of digital citizenship need to be systematically integrated into this learning.
  • Studies from across the world indicate that children and young people are engaging in online activities in greater numbers every day. In schools and in many homes we are encouraging our students to embrace technology from an early age. This leads to competence in using the technology with little ability to understand the medium.   The media bombards us with stories of misuse which can engender a fearfulness of the new technology. Ask almost anyone today what they know about digital citizenship and they will immediately suggest behaviour that poses a risk to online participants. They will readily identify behaviours of an aggressive or sexual nature, few will conceive of the risks of a commercial nature or of those that pose a threat to our values and even fewer will be conversant with the opportunities for educational learning and participation, social connection, self expression and civic participation as identified by De Haan & Livingstone. (2009) In fact “research suggests that each child climbs a ‘ ladder of online opportunities’ , beginning with information-seeking (of any kind), progressing through games and communication, taking on more interactive forms of communication and culminating in creative and civic activities.” (Livingstone and Helsper 2007 in De Haan & Livingstone, 2009, p9-10 ). The following table from EU kids online (De Haan & Livingstone, 2009) looks at participation online and identifies the opportunities and risks of children as recipients, participants and actors in the online world.
  • Table of Risks and Opportunities. From Livingstone, S., & Haddon, L. (2009) EU Kids Online: Final report (De Haan & Livingstone, 2009, p. 5)
  • According to the Australian Communications and Media Authroity's cybercitizen profiles, informed by the research project Media and Communications in Australian Families 2007, the need to promote and encourage positive online behaviour is a priority. This includes recognising key concepts associated with positive online behaviour including “netiquette, appropriate contact and communication with others, and consideration of issues such as cyberbullying, problematic usage and unethical behaviour.” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009) Cyberbullying - being the recipient or source of aggressive or offensive behaviour through digital communication technologies. It is becoming more common and is often a flow-on from school or playground bullying. Problematic Usage - relates to changes in mood, sleep patterns and personal relationships due to online behaviour and usage. Unethical behaviour - such as illegally downloading work/ideas belonging to others such as the music and entertainment industry.
  • What is e-security? “ e-Security is the process of ensuring that electronic information is kept safe from corruption and malicious attack, and that access to it is suitably and effectively controlled. Good e-security practice involves implementing e-security measures such as installing protective software. The focus of this capability is understanding basic computer protection and the consequences of not protecting computers and files. The skills, knowledge and behaviours required to protect personal information online are covered in the peer and personal safety capability. “(Commonwealth of Australia, 2009) computer protection - utilisation of firewalls, virus protection software and anti phishing tools to protect the information within your computer. Developing an understanding of the dangers such as: viruses, trojans and worms and how they are spread, spyware and adware and how they work What phishing and spam emails look like As well as the importance for backups and updates to lessen the chances of your information being vulnerable.  
  • What is peer and personal safety? “ Peer and personal safety involves developing protective behaviours while using a range of online mediums including social networking. These behaviours include protecting personal information to safeguard privacy, identifying when feeling unsafe and recognising grooming tactics. Personal information is any information or combination of information that enables the identification of an individual. Personal information may include full name and address details, phone numbers, email addresses, user names and passwords, bank details, and student identity card or passport details. The role of the trusted adult is central to maintaining personal safety, while adopting appropriate behaviours towards others is central to ensuring peer safety. For older students, the concept of the digital footprint is explored.” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009)   identifying when feeling unsafe and recognising grooming tactics - The need to protect children exists in all aspects of our daily life, we encourage teenagers to always take a friend, we teach them to look after each other when they go out… never leave a drink unattended etc. we insist that visitors to schools sign in, we walk or drive our littlies to and from school and we take them to the park to play. We don’t/or can’t stop them from doing these things we can only inform them and encourage them to comply. We know there are dangers but also that not every person they interact with has an intention of harm. It is the same with online behaviour, not every person they meet will have an intention to harm … we need to monitor their activities when they are young, empower them to engage only with people they know and understand not to engage in conversations that make them feel uncomfortable. protecting personal information - One of the underlying dangers of utilising the communication potential of the online/digital world is that of privacy. With more and more of our personal information being held/collected by organisations and government the need to be aware of the organisations intention for how it is used is vital.   Sharing of our information through social networking sites such as facebook or myspace where information can be shared unwittingly with a large number of people unless privacy settings are set to protect your profile.
  • What is digital media literacy? “ Digital media literacy is often understood as the ability to access, understand and participate in or create content by using digital media. Developments in digital technology have had significant effects on the way individuals interact with communications and media services. An increasingly wide range of sources of information, ways of doing business, services (including government services) and entertainment are now commonly made available and accessed online and/or through digital media.” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009)   sources of information - the ability to identify sources of information and evaluate it's authority, currency, purpose, appropriateness, clarity and accessiblity are important keys to ensuring effective and appropriate use of digital resources. ways of doing business - understanding the opportunities offered and the measures one needs to take in regard to accessing and engaging in online business. Services - understanding how to access online services offered by organisations and government departments, what information they collect and how they utilise the information as well as how to find out. Entertainment - using and creating online entertainment such as youtube and social networking sites such as facebook, playing games and interacting with others online in virtual worlds.
  • Ribble (2010) further develops the areas of behaviour, privacy, peer and personal safety and digital media literacy in his nine elements which need to be considered in developing digital citizenship programs in schools. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society - we need to make sure that the decisions we make and the expectations of our students and their families in regard to access to digital technologies fit our own community. Digital Commerce: the buying and selling of goods online - by assisting our students to understand the need to carry out research into the provider and the security of the transaction as well as understanding the dangers of incurring excessive debt we can ensure they are ready to participate in the digital economy. Digital Communication: the electronic exchange of information - understanding that the technologies in themselves are not the issue but rather their use and that careful consideration in utilising these methods of communication is vital can ensure our digital citizens engage in appropriate communication. Digital Literacy: the capability to use digital technology and knowing when and how to use it - understanding that the technology is only the means and that the ability to critically evaluate, utilise and create content is the capability. Digital Etiquette: the standards of conduct expected by other digital technology users - developing an understanding of how technology use can affect others will lead to more appropriate digital citizenship. Digital Law: the legal rights and restrictions governing technology use - understanding copyright issues and the legalities of downloading will ensure that students do not find themselves on the wrong side of the law through their usage patterns as written and unwritten laws of digital use evolve. Digital Rights and Responsibilities: the privileges and freedoms extended to all digital technology users, and the behavioral expectations that come with them - understanding that each person has the right to publish their work on the web and along with that right is the responsibility to respect each other's intellectual property. Digital Health and Wellness: the elements of physical and psychological well-being related to digital technology use - raising awareness of the need to sit properly in correctly sized furniture and to balance ones activities to prevent psychological dependence on the online environment. Digital Security: the precautions that all technology users must take to guarantee their personal safety and the security of their network - developing an understanding that keeping our computers secure and our identity safe is just as important as keeping locks on our doors and not talking to strangers.
  • Policies are often developed and seen as a reaction to what is happening rather than as a guide to support what is happening. The development of a digital media policy needs to address the social, ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of digital media.     As technology leaders it is our responsibility to ensure that the creation of policy aims to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of being a digital citizen, to encourage appropriate and effective use of technology … lead by example (Larson, Miller & Ribble, 2009) The in loco parentis role of the school deems it necessary to protect students within the school environment, however the aim is to develop "responsible citizens in a digital society” (Ribble & Bailey, 2007)   In developing policy we need to know what policies are already in existence and understand what the current usage is in a local context. Through consultation with students, parents and teachers we need to develop an understanding of the issues and how these are addressed or could be addressed by current or developed policies in consideration of local, state and national guidelines.   By employing an holistic approach and developing an educational program—rather than simply creating policies against technology misuse and abuse—technology leaders can create a self-sustaining digital citizenship program that will benefit all aspects of school technology use. (Ribble, 2007) Imposing policies that need to be strictly governed invites rebellion particularly when we are considering teenagers. The value of a well devised digital citizenship program is that it is not a sign on the dotted line acceptable use policy that students may not have even read nor is it something that needs policing or be ignored. It is entrenched in the teaching and learning across the school and all learning programs as part of every day.
  • The development of a digital citizenship program needs to be lead by a team with representatives from the executive and teaching staff with an interest in digital media as well as student welfare. The team may also include students and parents to create an inclusive ownership of the program.   Once the groundwork has been done and a draft program developed a process of communication and review with the staff, parents and students will lead to a redrafting of the program before it is finally accepted as the school's approach to digital citizenship.   The school needs also to identify key personnel to maintain and support the program within the school and to initiate a review process on a regular basis. Raising parents’ awareness and keeping them informed needs to be an ongoing and important part of the program. “For the internet, as for other media, research finds that parents try to do three types of management: imposing rules and restrictions, using technical tools (such as filtering, monitoring) and using social approaches (watching, sharing, talking about the internet with their children) (Livingstone and Helsper, 2008).” (as cited in de Haan & Livingstone, 2009)  
  • Schools are best placed to teach children the digital and critical literacy skills required to maximise opportunities and minimise risks. Schools are also best placed to reach all children, irrespective of socioeconomic status and other forms of inequality. For both these reasons, schools have a key role to play in encouraging and supporting creative, critical and safe uses of the internet, crucially throughout the curriculum, but also at home or elsewhere. (De Haan & Livingstone, 2009) The ethical behaviour we inspire in today's students will create the future of digital citizenship. We need to ensure that it is steeped in ethical practice from access to behaviour. In the educational context policy, modeling and education programs combine to develop awareness and understanding of acceptable and unacceptable use. It is my responsibility to ensure my presence in the digital world exemplifies good citizenship, it is also my responsibility to encourage others to understand and embrace the importance of developing and maintaining good citizenship in the digital world and it is all of our responsibility to constantly evaluate the principles of acceptable digital citizenship as the digital world grows and changes, in order to maintain the currency of the ethics of digital citizenship. References: Citizen (2010) in Dictionary reference online . Retrieved from Citizenship (2001) In Encarta concise English dictionary (p. 260). Sydney, Pan Macmillan Australia. Commonwealth of Australia (2009), Explaining the Cybercitizen profiles. In Cybersmart retrieved from De Haan, J. and Livingstone, S. (2009). Policy and research recommendations. LSE, London. In EU Kids Online. Retrieved from Larson, L., Miller, T., & Ribble, M. (2009). now tomorrow yesterday. (cover story). Learning & Leading with Technology , 37 (4), 12-15. Ribble, M & Bailey, G., 2007. Digital Citizenship in Schools. Ribble, M. (2010) Nine Elements. In Digital citizenship: using technology appropriately. Retrieved from Further online references for schools and parents.
  • Digital Citizenship: Yours Mine Ours

    1. 1. Digital citizenship Yours, mine, ours .
    2. 2. Digital Citizenship Citizenship – the duties or responsibilities that come with being a member of a community Digital citizenship – accepted behaviour and communication in the online world and the duties and responsibilities that come with being a member of that community
    3. 3. Participation in the digital community Children and young people are engaging in online activities in constantly increasing numbers The media bombards us with stories of misuse Digital community offers opportunities for educational learning and participation, social connection, self expression and civic participation
    4. 4.    
    5. 5. Digital behaviour Recognising key concepts associated with positive online behaviour <ul><li>Consideration of issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cyberbullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>problematic usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unethical behaviour </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. E-security Ensuring that electronic information is kept safe Taking computer protection measures
    7. 7. Peer and personal safety Developing protective behaviours Protecting personal information Recognising grooming tactics
    8. 8. Digital media literacy Ability to access, understand and participate Information services E - business Services Entertainment
    9. 9. Nine elements to digital citizenship programs Digital Access Digital Commerce Digital Communication Digital Literacy Digital Etiquette Digital Law Digital Rights and Responsibilities Digital Health and Wellness Digital Security
    10. 10. Digital media policy Address the social, ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of digital media. Holistic approach Educational program Maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of being a digital citizen Existing policies Usage in a local context Local, state and national guidelines.  Acceptable use policy vs digital citizenship program
    11. 11. Digital citizenship program Lead by a team Executive and teaching staff Students and parents Develop draft program review redraft Select key personnel to maintain, support and review the program Raise parents’ awareness and keep them informed
    12. 12. Conclusion Schools are best placed to reach all children Encourage and support the creative, critical and safe use of digital technologies Create the future of digital citizenship