If you have noticed the behavioral gap in the previous generations’ kids and the 21st-century kids, you will notice a wide difference. We were given pacifiers or dangling toys when we cried or threw a tantrum, kids today are given phones with games on them. Our punishments were more like “Go to your room, you are grounded for a week, no going to the park or meeting friends”, for this generations’ kids taking away their iPads, phones, and Tablets are punishment enough. This reflects the highly increased use of digital devices and resources.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, 97% of the kids have used a mobile device by the age of 4, while 59% of children by the age of 10, have used social media. The numbers are startling, not just because of the proportion but because of the age of the kids and the implications of these activities. To ensure that these numbers lean towards a positive impact on the minds of the students, it is imperative to teach them how to responsibly use the technology, internet, and other digital resources. The approach of teaching quality habits of engagement and awareness about the inappropriate behavior over the internet is called teaching the students about Digital Citizenship.
Digital Citizenship is the semantic concept of educating the students about their responsibility and empathy while interacting with digital resources and ensuring the optimal utilization of technology. It is a proactive way of making them literal and ready for workforce collaboration in the future. It has become extremely necessary that the students understand the significance of diligence and take efforts towards being eloquent in terms of usage of technology and the internet. And this is one of the reasons why digital citizenship should be taught in classrooms. Other reasons why every classroom should teach digital citizenship include:
1. Digital Responsibility
With power comes responsibility. Students today are given such powerful devices in their hands, that can shape their future in different ways. Channeling this power in the correct direction will ensure that they turn into exemplary individuals. The curriculum of the students’ syllabus needs to be incorporated with modules that teach kids about the wrongdoings like plagiarism, data theft, etc. alongside making them aware of the threats imposed by the use of these technologies. They should be taught to have empathy towards people they are interacting with even though they aren’t face-to-face with each other, they still need to treat them with respect.
2. Awareness and Protection against cybercrimes
Making students understand the concepts of hacking and cyberbullying is quite essential because of the tenderness of their age and unawareness about the extremes of such issues. Students take pictures and post them on various social media platforms and don’t know that the number plate of the car behind them or the signage can give potential harassers their details or using platforms that are not secure can give hackers access to their devices making them powerful in staging attacks. Students need to be given the clarity of what to do and what not to do to protect themselves and their peers.
3. Guidance towards digital literacy
Tons of information and data material is available for students and just at the clicks of a few buttons. Since they have access to so much information, they also need to be taught how to differentiate between information that is of use to them and information that is irrelevant. Teaching them how to correctly use particular keywords that will give them accurate results should be architected in their everyday learnings.
4. Digital Wellness and Control
Internet and technology are like candies, once you find something you like the taste of, you just cannot stop consuming it, which means you are exposing your health to hazards that can be harmful. Teaching students the criticality of complacency with the usage is imperative in inhibiting the time spent online. Overuse should be prevented by incorporating creative plans and strategies for taking frequent breaks from online engagements.
5. Promote Innovation and self-learning practices
Given at hand abundance of resource material should be utilized for further enhancements and learnings. Teaching students how they can use the internet and the technology to identify their interests, learn about the same, and then create something meaningful out of it will pave the way for innovation and creativity.
Digital Citizenship is not just about being a responsible user of the digital world, it is also about engaging with the content and material in the society and putting it to effective use for the betterment of them as individuals as well as the community. It develops them into being responsible adults who are eligible for working in a team and promoting workforce collaboration along with the efficient use of technology.