Photo CC: By Thomas Galvez
In researching and thinking about digital citizenship, I started thinking about what my first exposure to this topic really was. As it turns out, it was during an American Government and Politics course I was in not too long ago. While this class met in person, it was a mixed class, as a good portion of the required work was online. I’m sure we’re all too familiar with this now, but this was all new to me at the time. In giving the instructions for posting and replying, the professor said to treat others as you yourself would expect to be treated. (Ever heard this before?) However, he continued to say that while you yourself may be looking at a computer screen, there’s an individual on the other side of that screen; an individual with dreams, aspirations, feelings, and emotions – just like ourselves. Fast forward to now, and while I was exploring some of the sites for this week, one of the short videos contained in the “5-Minute Film Festival: Teaching Digital Citizenship” discussed this concept called “netiquette.” This concept actually predates the internet, and contained a simple set of rules on how to interact with others online. While the first rule was to remember that there’s a person on the other end of a device, the other rules are as follows: “the use of ALL CAPS is shouting online, be careful what you send, and validate information,” so as to not lower your credibility. Simple, right? Another interesting point of view came from a maned named Juan Enriquez and his TED Talk: “Your Online Life, Permanent as a Tattoo.” His talk in its entirety can be summed up in a nutshell: be careful as to what one puts online, as it’s there forever. However, the most useful site I researched was one called common sense media.(I was actually excited that I found this site on my own, but it turns out it was one of the links in module 9. Sad day!) However, it’s super cool, as it covers everything from determining how appropriate movies are for children, how to talk to them about terrorism and other goings on in the world, and of course, digital citizenship. This site did an incredible job explaining how and when to expose children to media, what role media should play in their lives, and even how to act appropriately when utilizing such devices. There are also a number of other videos available as well, videos covering everything from the power of words to plagiarism to cyber bullying. (I know this last one was more of a review type description of the site itself, but I just think that it’s phenomenal). In all, practicing digital citizenship, and then passing it on to students or one’s children, is critical, especially in today’s world.