img_0126
By: Cassie Kluess

The definition of citizenship according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the fact or status of being a citizen of a particular place, or the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community. These two definitions help give us a general idea of what digital citizenship is. In order to be a good digital citizen, you have to understand you are apart of the massive online community and be respectful to the others apart of it. The question of what’s the big deal and why is it so important often arise with these concepts. In this post, I hope to help uncover some of those answers and show why being a positive digital citizen is the most important thing you can do when you go online.

world-people
The internet has created a massive world wide community that is near  impossible to ignore.

The digital world is what we make it to be; this is especially true for our generation that has mostly encompassed ourselves with it and has founded much of its existence. Some of the most important things we can do as citizens is determine what the basic skills we need for it are like being able to categorize what information is credible and what is far too incredible to believe and what information is private and whether or not it’s secure. There’s also the idea of where digital citizenship can take you. These include things like helping manage information and opening up the world to anyone, which can lead to a very positive life. Although, both of these come back to what being a good digital means because without positivity online this place that originally seemed so inviting and interesting to explore can turn cold and harsh (ITWORX Education).

online-942408_960_720
Plenty of media that offers connection, information, and entertainment.

If we ignore the idea of being positive digital citizens then we will be inadvertently leading our digital world into ruin. Cyberbullying has become a major issue throughout the web due to some being negative citizens. It was found on average that 21% of students had been a victim of cyberbullying while 15% admitted to having cyber bullied someone before. Only a few studies have analyzed the trend of cyberbullying, but the numbers have stayed mostly consistent only moving a few percentage points per year. Although the issue has yet to have any sort of dramatic increase, it’s necessary that we work on the issue (Cyberbullying Research Center). Even if the trends aren’t increasing, they aren’t decreasing either. These numbers indicate that 1 in 5 students has been the victim of cyberbullying and less than 1 in 7 is the cyber bully. These sort of odds are tremendous; especially if more schools begin to switch to a one-to-one digital environment like ours has. We need to discuss this issue more and find ways to hold others accountable for making the internet a tortuous place for some. It is essential that people realize that what they say online is just as impactful as whatever they say in person because the disconnect from reality is aiding these numbers. Next time you post something online think about what it could mean to someone else. Instead of spreading negativity and making the internet a uninviting place, utilize and appreciate all the things it has to offer.

 

References

“Why is digital citizenship so important?.” ITWORX Education, 2015. Web. 21 Nov 2016.

“Cyberbullying Facts.” Cyberbullying Research Center, n.d. Web. 21 Nov 2016.