Like it or not, in today’s world, the internet and social media have become a way of life for adults and children alike. As a result, just as it is important to teach our children how to be good citizens in their physical community, it is imperative that we raise responsible digital citizens as well.
According to the Digital Citizenship Institute, digital citizenship refers to the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use, and a responsible digital citizen is one who knows what is right and wrong, exhibits intelligent technology behavior, and makes good choices when using technology.
Here are 5 ways you can raise a responsible digital citizen:
Surf the internet with your children or pay attention to which websites or online communities they visit as well as the social media platforms in which they participate. Be a positive influence by reacting in a constructive manner when they encounter or engage in inappropriate content.
Teach Them to Be Critical Thinkers
Help your child navigate the internet by working together to identify safe, credible sites. Identify examples of pages or icons they should be cautious about clicking on or downloading and explain the implications of such actions so they know how and why to avoid them in the future.
Help Them to Play Safe
Help your children to understand the public nature of the internet and how to interact safely with those they might interact with online. Make sure they understand that any information they share, such as content, photos, and texts, can be shared or copied and therefore available to potentially anyone.
Encourage Them to Be Kind To Others
Teach your children to mind their online manners. Encourage them to practice treating others with the same respect online as they would in person. This includes not posting or sharing anything about others that might be hurtful, mean or embarrassing.
Show Them How to Leave a Positive Footprint
In today’s world, developing a positive digital footprint, or online presence, is a must. Encourage your children to think carefully about what they are posting on social media sites and publishing on the web. Help them to understand what is appropriate and what is not. Maintaining a positive digital footprint can help keep your child out of trouble with the law as well as make a good impression on friends, teachers and future bosses.
In addition to these suggestions, the best way to raise a responsible digital citizen is to set a good example by becoming one yourself.