What makes a person a good citizen? Most people would agree on a few basics: productive engagement, active consideration for others, fulfilment of duties, and so forth. Basically a good citizen contributes to his or her community, shows respect, and behaves appropriately. When people act contrary to these principles, the whole community suffers.
Some schools teach children about citizenship by breaking it down into five themes: honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage. Such a framework provides a way of helping children learn how to attain to good citizenship.
Digital citizenship refers to one’s behaviour on-line and via electronic devices. We share cyberspace with other users. The anonymity afforded by computers can cause us to forget that even on-line, we are members of a larger community, one that is made up of people—not information or binary code.
Parents first and schools second have a responsibility to educate our children about acceptable conduct on-line and off-line. The themes of citizenship apply to cyberspace. Only through intentional teaching and consistent modelling can parents and educators ensure that children and young people will possess the necessary skills and knowledge to be good digital citizens.