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Why Should you Teach Digital Citizenship to Children?

Knowledge about Digital Citizenship is important but what is digital citizenship? Digital Citizenship is the way in which a person is digitally advanced, has the skills and know-how of using the tools and techniques of digital media effectively, participate in society and create and consume the digital media. It is all about maintaining a positive and confident relationship with digital technology. Digital Citizenship is important for everyone, especially children. Making children understand about digital citizenship will help them to understand about digital and information literacy as well as internet safety along with privacy and security. They will also have knowledge about cyberbullying, relationships, communication, creative credits and copyright as well as understand the importance of digital footprints.

Learning about digital citizenship will be a whole new experience and reality changing for the children as most of the education and communication are taking place online. The time has changed and now educators need to step out of the traditional classroom to the world of digital media and keyboards and teach the children to use these digital media technologies wisely and effectively as the digital media is going to strengthen their relationship with the world.

There is something new incorporated into technology everyday, which is making digital-online media more common and the most important way to build connections in the world. Technology is in everything whether it is education, job searches, employment, navigation, meetings, conferences and many more. It is becoming one of the major tools of success for the kids in today’s era. To become a lifetime learner, children need to learn about digital citizenship as it will help them to understand the skills, resources, techniques and ways to handle the digital media for a successful career.

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It will also help them to communicate with the digital world and build connections with confidence as someone who will leave a positive and meaningful impact in someone’s life. Here are some reasons why digital citizenship is important to children:

  1. Literacy Of Information:

    Information is important for children to succeed in studies and in their career. With the presence of Google, Wikipedia, Thesaurus and other reference materials, the information about every topic around the world is on their fingertips. Accessing information in such a convenient way was never easier for children. The real challenge with the availability of information is to understand the ways it needs to be utilized for understanding and retaining knowledge. If the children search for one topic such as “What is Digital Citizenship?”,tons of answers and references will pop up but they need to differentiate between what is reliable and useful among the spam. Teaching them about digital citizenship will help them to understand the information on the internet by taking its full benefits and effectively differentiating between the reliable data from the expanding list of sites with information with their digital understanding skills like searching on Google, referencing to reputed sites for information and other useful knowledge.

  2. Preventing Cyberbullying:

    With the increase in digital presence, cyberbullying is gradually increasing day by day. It has become an increasingly concerning topic for teachers, children and every other digital media user. By teaching the children about digital citizenship, they will engage in digital media respectfully and can prevent themselves from falling into the net of cyberbullying. They can set up their guidelines and can incorporate in the way they show their digital presence. Communicating digitally with etiquette by reinforcing and repeating the proper guidelines repeatedly will make them connect and communicate respectfully with their peers. Setting up clear boundaries and repeating the do’s and dont’s on digital media will help them to be safe. Encouraging the children to report and be open about any mishaps with them on digital platforms is okay and they should speak about it rather than bottling it up as it can save many other people from falling into the trap of cyberbullying or cyber mishaps. This will build a solid foundation and navigate the children to be responsible citizens of the country in both digital and real world.

  3. Online Safety:

    Safety is important in everything you do. Online safety is the most important and influences learning while understanding digital platforms and digital citizenship. Understanding about online safety and prioritizing it will help the students to be more responsible and free to take charge of their digital presence and are less prone to fall into the trap of digital mishaps awaiting for them. It can be done by teaching the children to visit reputable and reliable sites as well as not sharing information about themselves or anyone else. If they feel that there is something wrong with them on the digital platform then they should seek the help of an elder. This will help them to blossom as responsible digital citizens and help them to be safe on digital platforms.

  4. Digital Responsibility:

    Not understanding the consequences of anything new will make the people pay a price which goes with the digital technologies too. Without fully understanding the digital media, children may use it in the wrong manner. Using and defining your own experiences comes with responsibilities. Children need to understand the power they hold while posting anything on digital media carefully as it can harm someone else as well as it will play an important role in their education and successful life. Curriculum involving the teachings of digital media is important to be introduced in order to make the children understand the digital media better. With this, they will know about the threats of viruses, hacking and piracy as well as the concept of plagiarizing and digital crime and its potential consequences that they will need to face if they commit it along with other forms of digital theft and inappropriate online behaviour.

The rate of being addicted to technology is higher in children which can have negative impacts on the emotional and physical well-being of children. By teaching about digital citizenship, the children can understand that they need to prioritize their mental and physical health before their digital media presence by limiting time on digital platforms and taking breaks to give rest to their body. Teaching them about being proactive and mindful with technology will keep them safe and secure from cyber crimes as digital technology can be both good and bad for their mental and physical health and can affect their education, knowledge and future in a negative manner.