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Being a good digital citizen - and why students should care

Being a good digital citizen – and why students should care


Today’s youth are digital natives. Unlike the generation before them, they are exposed to technology on a daily basis. A 2017 CNN report for example, noted screen time for children ages 8 or younger had tripled in just four years. This exposure makes it all the more important for students to understand what being a good digital citizen means and how to be good citizens in the digital world. This means understanding online etiquette, how to stay safe online, and how to process and think critically about the seemingly endless amount of information available at their fingertips.

Technology can also have an impact on student’ emotions – particularly when it comes to their use of social media. Being a good digital citizen means using social media in a responsible manner and recognizing signs of cyberbullying or other harmful online behavior.

Why is being a good digital citizen important?

These statistics highlight three great reasons. According to ISTE:

  • 33% of colleges research students’ digital footprints
  • 47% of students say they’d do everything they could to protect their digital identity
  • 88% of teens who use social media have witnessed other people being cruel online
  • 80% of students mistake “sponsored content” ads for legitimate news

Let’s examine these issues in more detail.

Digital footprints – It can be assumed that part of the process of screening a job candidate will include a search through the candidate’s social media profiles. A person’s online digital footprint can sometimes tell the potential employer much more than a resume or even an in-person interview. Students need to be aware of what their digital footprint looks like and make sure that their current actions – the content they’re posting or sharing, their tone when they interact with others online, and even the images they are choosing to publically share – will not hurt their job prospects later in life.

Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying continues to be a great concern among youth, and the more access students have to technology in school, the more it’s going to happen during class time. Students need to understand what cyberbullying looks like and that it can have real and tragic consequences in the Real World.

Identifying fake news – One of the 21st Century skills that students need to learn is how to think critically. This includes thinking critically about both academic content and the online content and “news” they see every day on the internet. Many schools teach entire courses on media literacy. Those that don’t should find a way to incorporate some of these lessons into their everyday curriculum. For example, how can a student tell if the web site they just came across is objective? What “clues” should they look for to determine whether an article their friends are sharing is true? How can they tell if something is a legitimate news piece or sponsored content by a company. It’s important for students to recognize bias. This is a skill that will translate well later in life too.

How does Impero help identify positive behavior in the classroom?

As the use of technology in the classroom continues to grow, Impero’s student safety and keyword detection software can help teachers identify positive behavior – and also any potential concerns. For example, if a teacher has allowed students to access twitter for a class project, he or she can keep an eye on whether students are staying on track and using this tool in a positive manner — and reward or redirect the students as needed. Impero’s keyword library also alerts a school if students search for or type words or phrases indicating negative behavior such as those which could indicate cyberbullying.

In addition, students can proactively and confidentially report concerns they may have about themselves or others using Confide (our anonymous reporting tool), to ensure every student feels supported and safe. Learn more about Impero Education Pro by scheduling a demonstration.

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