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6 Reasons why we must teach digital citizenship to students

Do people communicate more with each other now then ever before? Well that’s a conversation for another day. What we don’t need any statistics about is, the use and the reach that social media now offers to us. In this ever-changing world it becomes important for us to bring in digital citizenship as an important aspect of our curriculum. When asked, most teachers talk about how they encourage young learners to research for their projects, assignments and home work. But how many of us first teach our students appropriate behavior when using digital media and more specifically the social media.

THE NEW GRAFFITI WALL

Social networking sites are not graffiti walls. Therefore, students should be explained how to be responsible when they comment on social network sites.  It is easier to write things to people then to actually say them to a person’s face.  Hence use your words with care and not get carried away.  Way too often, we see adults and children writing crude, crass, and abusive statements on social media.

LIFE OF IT’s OWN

When we post content, we give it life. Who sees it, what its reach may be, how it is interpreted is not something that we can fathom when we click that send button. Would you like to be introduced to new people by the comments or pictures you post? Would you be comfortable with your family, teachers, future employees reading them? What is said is important but who has said is more important.

YOUR PRIVACY

Sharing your personal information and not expecting that to be used ever by someone on social media, is expecting a bit too much! Your personal details such as your date of birth, where you are travelling, email id, phone number can be used by someone easily even when you think that you have your privacy settings on. So be careful of what personal information you share.

CYBER BULLYING

This is an offence. Even when you just called someone by a ‘funny’ name. Many students’ way too often use language or post images or pictures of their friends that may border on obscenity without really meaning to do so. Don’t troll others or try to gang up against someone. The same can very well happen to you.

“Freedom of speech does not justify online bullying. Words have power, be careful how you use them.” – Germany Kent

SENSELESS FORWARDS

This one is relevant to all of us. It is commonly seen that age really is no barrier when it comes to our exuberance to senselessly forward a post without even trying to verify its authenticity. In the recent past, there have been cases of hate crimes being conducted because of the euphoria created by forwarding fake news through social media. As Pawan Duggal, a leading cyber law expert says, “we should be kinder about the content we share on social media”.

Think before you share. A study by Yale University scientists, stated that people who are analytical in nature will hesitate before sharing any link, picture or headline. Be willing to disbelieve. Don’t add to the noise and confusion that exists by getting into the spiral of fake news promoters.

“What you post online speaks VOLUME about who you really are. POST with intention. RE-POST with caution.”- Germany Kent

PUBLISH YOUR WORK

Students are encouraged to publish their work, write their blogs, comment on the blogs of their peers. Explaining to them what academic honesty is and how that should be upheld is critical as they explore digital medium to record their work.  It is easy to copy paste or pass off the work of others as your own. Honoring somebody’s work by acknowledging not only adds authenticity to your work but also reflects good research skills and understanding.

Remember to not just add to the noise

 

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