In this fast-growing world where every day comes up with new technology and new challenges, we need to be more cautious of what we are doing. The word global citizen has now been replaced with Netizens. Generation Z, born in the era of the internet, is spending more time on this new virtual world. Gone are the days when we were in need of big books and registers to keep records or kids going to school with bags full of books where a dictionary was a must. The pandemic has impacted on our lives with about one-third of the world population working from home. About 60% of people in the world are using the internet, a study reveals. When more than half of the world is on internet, how can we neglect our behaviour and responsibilities as a citizen of internet? Especially in India, where the use of internet and digitalisation is at its peak, there is a need to make people aware about Digital Citizenship.

What do you mean by Digital Citizenship?

A digital citizen is a person using information technology in order to engage in society, politics, and government.

Digital citizenship means the way you behave and handle the digital tools, including communication with other people responsibly, leaving positive footprints online.

Why do I need to know about it?

As we are into the world of the internet, we need to understand the rules and regulations of online society. Anyone who is using mobile, laptop, or working online, doing online shopping, online payments or simply are on any kind of social media platform, need to know the basic online netiquettes or safe online behaviour.

Elements of Digital Citizenship

According to Mike Ribbles, an educator and author, there are three core principles of Digital Citizenship which includes - REP:

  1. Respect
  2. Educate
  3. Protect

These core principles are further divided into 3 terms each which makes the total nine elements of Digital Citizenship. Understanding of each term will make this new world safer, comfortable, approachable with positive outcomes for every person in this nettosphere.

Nine elements of digital citizenship you need to know:

digital citizenship

Responsibilities of a Good Digital Citizen

A good digital citizen is a responsible netizen who spreads positivity in the virtual world and always be aware about his actions online. Here are some of the responsibilities of a good digital citizen. All good digital citizens

  • Respect all the other digital citizens and understand everyone has the right to speak and respect the difference in the opinion.
  • Never use foul or rude language.
  • Keep their personal and public life separate.
  • Comment/Post carefully as it will remain online in most of the cases. You may think here that you have deleted the message but it remains there. Take an example of a widely used app - WhatsApp. Even if you have deleted your chat from your phone, it is still there on the server or in your drive or iCloud.
  • Are aware about copyright and give due credit to the other's work.
  • Take care of their health and take a break from screen regularly or exercise when using laptop etc for a longer time.
  • Do social media detoxification.
  • Never share passwords and log out from public devices.
  • Help others learn the technology and make them aware of their responsibilities.

Creating awareness among masses

In schools:

This year, due to pandemic, schools are closed and online education is the medium of instruction. Though parents are keeping check of their internet activity, one still cannot be sure of what they are sharing with their friends. Hence this subject needs to be taught to them. They need to be safe online and must know how to spot cyberbullying. They must know that before posting a photo of your friend, you need his or her consent.

At workplace:

Technology has become an integral part of work culture. Digital leaders can make the long-term profit for your company. Employers need to be smart and digitally literate and must know the fundamentals of digital citizenship. They must know their professional, public and personal lives have a little margin.

In home environment:

Home is a place meant for relaxation. Hence, following healthy rules for online interaction need to be followed such as wearing headphones when on call and blocking out the unnecessary noises at the background, also keeping privacy intact. Try to find a common time for family interaction keeps you physically and mentally fit.

These are just a few suggestions. You are a better judge of your life. So, keep yourself safe and create awareness among others by sharing your views. Keep some of these posters ready to display and do not forget to take a Good Digital citizenship pledge.

Pledge for digital citizenship