Digital Citizenship: How Important it is Today?
Although this generation can navigate the digital world with ease, it is unreasonable to assume young people fully understand how to leverage technology for best possible outcomes. Research shows that most youth use the Internet to view media outlets and to communicate with friends through social media applications.
Online, teens are not more digitally literate or skilled than adults. Most teens have not been exposed to the tools they need to boost their careers, such as writing, web design or content production. In addition, online security, legitimate dangers and potential digital footprint consequences are discussions yet to be had. As a society, it is our responsibility to ensure youth are fully aware as well as educated about digital citizenship. Education institutions, parents, community programs and youth organizations must make digital citizenship a priority to ensure our young leaders are on solid ground for a positive future. The call for teaching digital citizenship must no longer remain in question; it is a critical priority for youth, our communities and the nation.
Digital Citizenship is defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use; it can be broken down into eight strategic areas: etiquette, communication, literacy, commerce, law, access, security and rights and responsibilities. Digital Citizenship is more than just a curriculum to be taught in a classroom; it is an ongoing process to prepare youth for a society immersed in technology, personally and professionally.
Assisted by the convenience and constant access to information provided by mobile devices, especially smart phones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly.” More than half (56%) of teens (ages 13-17) go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.
As a result of these growing statistics, parents and education institutions are becoming more aware of digital citizenship while beginning to take an active role. It is the need of the hour to understand that digital citizenship is not only a priority today, but is also an ongoing concern that impacts young people from middle school through college and into the workforce. With these technological needs in mind, a global commitment must be made by providing mentors, resources and tools to those who need it most today.