Digital Citizenship is a term that we need to impress on our students at this age. Our students know they are expected to treat others as they would like to be treated and how to be good citizens. The one missing component is teaching them exactly how to be good digital citizens. There are companies today that do nothing but go back and search a person’s digital life. Many times the life people lead online and the life they live in the public realm are two different things.
Today it matters what you say on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. With unemployment at all time highs, the job market is getting more competitive than ever and with this comes new layers allowing companies to peel back and hire the best candidate. This is why it is never too early to start talking to your students about how their online activities can affect their lives. Just as we want students to be respectful to one another, they must also realize that what they say online is just as important as what they say to a person right in front of them.
When people are online in the privacy of their home, they feel more secure in saying something they may not necessarily say in public. Here at school, we see many of our issues arise from what has went on the night before on social sites. Texts are sent between students and many times the content of them is not revealed until a major issue arises. We need to be talking to our students about sending and receiving provocative or even nude pictures to one another. This is something going on in our schools now.
It is never too early to start talking to your students about being a good digital citizen. Just like a child is taught to say please, we need to start instilling in the young generation how to treat and respect people online.