What is digital citizenship?According to the newly released 2016 Threat Report by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) (link), there were 1095 serious cyber assaults against the Government between January 2015-June 2016 and almost 15,000 incidents affecting Australian businesses in the 12 months ending in June this year.1

It’s clear that cyber security continues to be important issue that all Australians must be aware of—including children. True, they don’t need to worry about incidents that affect systems of national interest or critical infrastructure like the ACSC, but they do need to ensure they understand how to use technology safely and responsibility, inside and outside the classroom.

This concept is broadly known as digital citizenship and a digital citizen, therefore, is simply a person who “uses ICT regularly and effectively”.2 According to the Australian Government (link), the responsibility to help educate children about online use rests on schools as much as their families and communities.

But first, what exactly does digital citizenship entail? Here we find varied answers.

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner(link) outlines three core principles that all digital citizens should practice:

1. Engage positively

Students should be respectful of the rights of others and stand up for what’s right, whether it’s offensive or illegal content or more extreme cases of cyberbullying.

2. Know your online world

Students need to have an in-depth understanding of how to use the technology that’s available to them, manage online risks and prospect their digital footprint.

3. Choose consciously

Armed with knowledge, students should be making well-informed decisions to protect themselves and their friends.
Conversely, the Digital Citizenship Website (link) breaks down the concept into 9 distinct elements:

Digital Citizenship
Similarly, the nine elements have also been organised into three principles:

  • Respect yourself / Respect others
  • Educate yourself / Connect with others
  • Protect yourself / Protect others

While there are likely others, these two models start to paint the picture of the task at hand and the scope of the knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop.  What do you think? Do you agree with one approach more than the other? How do you help students become digital citizens? Let us know in the comments below.

No matter your personal viewpoint, one can agree that digital citizenship is imperative to students’ education today. If you’d like to know more about digital citizenship, and how Jacaranda can help, please visit Jacaranda Digital Citizenship page.

1 Source: https://www.acsc.gov.au/publications/ACSC_Threat_Report_2016.pdf
2 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_citizen

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