Digital Citizenship: It’s about how you act online

Digital Citizenship

Defining digital citizenship

How to practice good digital citizenship

What is my role as a parent?

What are ethical issues in the digital world?

Where can I get more information?

Defining digital citizenship

Digital citizenship includes acting ethically by deciding whether certain actions are right or wrong.

There are two core elements of online ethics: knowledge and empathy. We use knowledge to judge if our actions online are appropriate, and empathy to understand how our choices affect others.

How to practice good digital citizenship

The ability to be anonymous online can make it easy to ignore ethical thinking. However, this does not make us less responsible for our actions. Some actions can have serious social or legal consequences. For example, cyberbullying can cause real harm to someone; sharing personal information can lead to identity theft; and downloading music illegally is stealing.

When navigating the internet, it's important to ask yourself:

By thinking before we act, we can make better choices and be a part of a more enjoyable and safer online community.

What is my role as a parent?

New sites, apps, and social media platforms appear every day, and with these, come new ways to interact with content and people. Parents face many choices when it comes to using the internet and new technology. Our children may be digital natives, but they often look to their parents for guidance.

Here are a few ways parents can break down barriers and help children practice good digital citizenship:

Keep the lines of communication open

Teach your child smart online behaviour

What are ethical issues in the digital world?

Protecting feelings

Image of a father and his two daughters sitting on a couch looking at a smartphone.

Did you know?

Protecting privacy

Group of young adults standing and looking at their smartphone.

Did you know?

Protecting property

Young adult holding their smartphone and taking a photo during a concert.

Did you know?

Where can I get more information?

Canadian Centre for Child Protection – Access resources for parents, teachers, and children on promoting the safety of children online. Resources include: The Door That's Not Locked, Kids in the Know, and resource guides for age specific groups (www.protectchildren.ca/app/en/overview).

MediaSmarts – Learn more about ethical development, challenges to ethical thinking, cyberbullying, and download shareable resources.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner – Learn more about privacy and your online reputation.

Are you concerned about your child's safety online?

Below are resources you can access for more information. If you know of a child in immediate risk or danger, call law enforcement right away.

Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children. Their programs include:

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868): A free, anonymous and confidential phone and online professional counselling service for youth.

Footnotes

  1. 1

    LI, Joyce; CRAIG, Wendy (2015). Young Canadians' Experiences with Electronic Bullying, MediaSmarts (28 pages). Available online: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/publication-report/full/young-canadians-electronic-bullying.pdf

  2. 2

    LI, Joyce; CRAIG, Wendy (2015). Young Canadians' Experiences with Electronic Bullying. MediaSmarts (28 pages). Available online: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/publication-report/full/young-canadians-electronic-bullying.pdf

  3. 3

    STEEVES, Valerie (2014). Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Online Privacy, Online Publicity. Ottawa, MediaSmarts (53 pages). Available online: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publication-report/full/YCWWIII_Online_Privacy_Online_Publicity_FullReport.pdf

  4. 4

    STEEVES, Valerie (2014). Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Online Privacy, Online Publicity. Ottawa, MediaSmarts (53 pages). Available online: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publication-report/full/YCWWIII_Online_Privacy_Online_Publicity_FullReport.pdf

  5. 5

    STEEVES, Valerie (2014). Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs: Gauging Young Canadians' Digital Literacy Skills. Ottawa, MediaSmarts (53 pages). Available online: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publication-report/full/YCWWIII_Experts_or_Amateurs.pdf

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