Why is digital citizenship important?
Digital citizenship isn’t just about recognising and dealing with online hazards. It’s about building safe spaces and communities, understanding how to manage personal information, and about being internet savvy - using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way, and inspiring others to do the same.
The basic skills we need to negotiate the world and contribute to its development have changed. As well as reading, writing and maths we also need to be media literate – to understand how to find, evaluate, manage and use information – our own as well as the zillions of pieces of information – some useful, some misleading - online. These basic skills apply as much to researching a homework paper as they do to having fun hanging out and talking to people in chat rooms or in Instant Messenger.
Additionally, we need to appreciate the positive impact and the contribution we can all make to the world – both online and off.
With great power comes great responsibility! ;-)
Positive yes, but what are the risks?
The internet is a social space for people to communicate, collaborate, and create. Like all social spaces, the internet comes with risks as well as opportunities.
Digizen approaches these head on – taking a balanced view of the dangers, helping children, young people and adults to recognise prevent and respond effectively to challenges. Fundamentally, this means that simply blocking certain sites or outlawing particular behaviours are not in themselves guarantees of safety. Online communities have to take responsibility in negotiating acceptable behaviour and ensuring that everybody’s experience is a positive one. You can find out more in the sections on Young People and Social Networking Services and Cyberbullying.
What’s on digizen?
Our section on Young People and Social Networking Services provides information about using social network sites and social media sites creatively and safely. It provides tips for evaluating these online resources and examples of how to use them to support informal and formal learning.
Responding to the range of risks faced by children and young people, Childnet has worked closely with the UK Government and a wide range of partners from the internet and mobile industries to produce practical advice and guidance on Cyberbullying. You’ll find the advice here, along with supporting resources to help tackle cyberbullying in your own school and local community.
Building on Childnet’s Academy programme we are developing ‘Digicentral’, a space where we can highlight how young people are making a positive difference using the latest technologies and embrace the sites that they already inhabit. In this section you can read about a unique competition which Childnet is launching to recognise the ways that young people use the internet and their favorite sites to make a difference. Our first competition looks at how young people are educating and supporting each other to take action on cyberbullying – raising awareness, providing information and advice.