Modelling good behaviour online starts at home and in the classroom. It begins with how we, as adults, behave online and with how we use technology. If we want youth to be good digital citizens, we should model good online practices. Adults can set the tone of what is acceptable online behaviour. Together, youth and adults can come up with their own online safety and technology use agreement.
What does it mean to be a good digital citizen?
Being a good digital citizens means using technology and the internet in a safe and respectful way; taking steps to protect ourselves while online; respecting and being kind to others online; and knowing our limits and boundaries to protect our privacy. Good online behaviour is referred to as digital citizenship.
Habits of a good digital citizen
- respects oneself and others while online;
- protects private information – one's own and that of others;
- balances time spent online with other activities;
- does not engage in or allow cyberbullying and stands up to bullying online;
- respects the intellectual property of others;
- acknowledges and respects differences in culture, opinions and beliefs;
- learns how to manage one's digital footprint – the information that exists on the internet as a result of your online activity.
Lead by example
Kids learn by example. They often take their cues from the adults in their lives, which is why it is important that we put into practice the same behaviours we expect from our kids. Are we respectful when online? Do we post mean comments? Do we share information that may be inaccurate or hurtful? If it is something we don't want our kids to do, we should not be doing it either. As adults we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be positive role models. In doing so, we can help guide youth when when it come to practicing online safety and ethics and help empower them to be good digital citizens.
Starting the conversation
It is important to have open, honest, respectful, and meaningful conversations where mutual agreements are made regarding online practices and technology use. Technology and the internet are meant to be fun, interactive, and educational. By openly discussing each other's expectations, surfing the internet and using technology can be a positive experience.
Common Sense Media is a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth thrive in the world of media and technology, and in aiding caregivers and educators in helping youth thrive in this technology-driven world.