“Digital Citizenship is the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology.” –Amy Erin Borovoy.
This week, I discovered a lot of information about what digital citizenship is, but the sentence that stood out to me the most while I was doing my research was: “Few young people actually engage in ethical thinking when they are online.” This sentence stood out to me because I have never really thought about being ethical when I am online. When I am on the internet, I am usually doing homework, looking for a location, or interacting with others through social media, but I do not think too seriously about what I am saying or what I am putting out there that will be attached to my name forever. I don’t think that any of us who use the internet are doing enough thinking about what we are allowing everyone in the world to see for the rest of our lives.
According to Juan Enriquez in his TED Talk, everything that we put online stays with us forever like a tattoo. A lot of the time, the tattoo that we thought was so cool when we got it is one that we regret every time that we look at it after that. The same can be said about what we put online. The same things that we think might be cool to say or post in our younger years could come back and haunt us as we get older. Our future employers will, without a doubt, be searching our name online and be able to find out everything that we have ever put out there because, as Enriquez stated, we are all plastered with electronic tattoos, and those tattoos will live forever, even after we are gone.
We all have the same rights when we are online, but it is important that we exercise them in an appropriate manner. Mike Ribble, in his article called Digital Citizenship – Using Technology Appropriately, tells us that there are precautions that we should take in order to behave like a proper digital citizen. One really important thing that we should all do when we are interacting online is to protect our identity. It is always a good idea to create private accounts with minimal information about yourself so that you are kept safe.
When it comes to digital citizenship, I think that an important message that needs to be relayed to everyone who uses technology is how necessary it is to be kind to people. Cyber bullying is alive and well in today’s society, and it has a terribly negative impact on those who are involved. People tend to believe that because they are hiding behind a username on a screen, they can say whatever they want to others without realizing the way it is going to affect those that they are talking to. It is really important that we treat others with respect and kindness whether online or in person, and that is a message that every internet user needs to remember.
Thanks for reading!