Elements of Digital Citizenship - A Reflection

The proliferation of new forms of technology and media in the 21st century, such as smartphones and social media, has left us in a new age of innovation in our lifestyles, bringing with it a digital world. The natives of this new world are Generation Z, the generation born around the turn of the millenium and the years after. They have always known a world where technology was integrated into daily life and are faced with new challenges previous generations did not have to face. To meet these challenges of membership in the digital spaces of this new world they inhabit, they need to develop a new skill set, that of digital citizenship. I would define digital citizenship as the  application of principles that impact digital lifestyles, habits, consumptions and interactions in order to sustain and improve digital communities (Heick, 2018; Ohler, 2011; Ribble, 2015).

Ribble (2015) discussed how digital citizenship needs to be modelled, promoted and cultivated in students at all levels of schooling, in age appropriate ways, from kindergarten to high school. He defined digital citizenship as consisting of nine elements within three domains. The first domain is that of student learning and academic performance, which are the factors  that affect students’ access to digital resources and ability to learn, participate and communicate; the three elements in this domain are digital access, digital communications and digital literacy. The second domain is that of school environment and student behavior, which are the factors that affect the overall climate, culture, and safety of the school environment; the three elements in this domain are digital security, digital etiquette and digital rights and responsibilities. The third domain is that of student life outside the school environment, which are the factors affect student in their home, social environments and digital communities; the three elements in this domain are digital health and wellness, digital law and digital commerce.

The elements of digital citizenship are principles that interrelate on a local and  global level. According to Ribble (2015), the principles interrelate because they all play a role in improving outcomes in the learning community of the school  and prepare students to become 21st century citizens, both digital and otherwise. The iCitizen project defined a digital citizen as someone who is globally aware and connected, empathetic, and socially responsible, wanting to make the world a better place. This citizen believes in social justice,  models socially responsibility, and takes action to protect and advocates for the rights of others around the world, both in person and digitally (Curran, 2012).


Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Digital Citizenship - Using Technology Appropriately. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2018, from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
Digital Citizenship Conversations. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2018, from http://digcit.us/
Heick, T. (2018, September 09). Definition of digital citizenship. TeachThought. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/
Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record,47(1), 25-27. doi:10.1080/00228958.2011.10516720
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.).
TeachThought Staff. (2017, December 05). We shouldn't assume people know what digital citizenship is. TeachThought. Retrieved November 25, 2018, from https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/we-shouldnt-assume-people-know-what-digital-citizenship-is/


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