Ritu is an 18-year-old who’s spent her entire life in a village on the outskirts of Kolkata. Orphaned at the age of 11 and a patient of chronic anxiety since 13, Ritu’s life has been a struggle of battling the odds time and again.

No hardship, however, has dimmed Ritu’s curiosity to learn and know the world better. After buying a smartphone and mobile data package with her savings, Ritu has turned her life around by maximizing the potential of digital citizenship.

During the pandemic, when all her friends were confined to their homes doing nothing, Ritu was completing as many online educational programs as she could avail free of cost.

Thanks to her persistence and self-taught digital skills, Ritu’s now on her way to becoming a scholar, with an offer to pursue an undergraduate degree in public policy at one of the country’s leading universities.

Digital citizenship for students has never been more important for Ritu.

  1. Digital Citizenship Meaning

  2. Why Is Digital Citizenship Important?

  3. Elements Of Digital Citizenship

  4. Digital Citizenship Examples

  5. Become A Digital Citizenship Expert


Digital Citizenship Meaning

Digital citizenship can be defined as the successful and positive engagement with digital technologies that allows individuals and communities to cultivate values, skills, attitudes and knowledge. They develop in different ways as part of a process of lifelong learning. 

The meaning of digital citizenship can’t be understood without understanding effective social participation. Effective social participation in the digital sphere respects human rights and dignity through the responsible use of technology.

A good digital citizen is one who’s able to identify the critical need for digital citizenship in a virtually connected world and take steps towards learning and re-learning their own role in society as a digital citizen.

According to The Council of Europe’s Competences for Democratic Culture (Council of Europe, 2016), digital citizenship meaning can only be complete once its vital role in preparing young minds for the future has been acknowledged and implemented.

Why Is Digital Citizenship Important?

Now that the meaning of digital citizenship has been established, it’s time to familiarize you with the various ways in which digital citizenship impacts society.

  • Responsible digital citizenship makes it possible to acquire knowledge, attribute it, apply it as well as critique it
  • A good digital citizen can use digital technology to not only lead a secure and smart life themselves but also encourage others to do so
  • Responsible digital citizenship can reduce discrimination and bring people from different and diverse backgrounds to work together
  • Digital citizenship for students has the potential to transform education by making learning more analytical, interactive and immersive
  • Responsible digital citizenship can harness several elements of digital citizenship to build closer and more connected communities that are more aware of what unites them

Elements Of Digital Citizenship

The 9 elements of digital citizenship as identified by The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are explained as follows:

  1. Digital Access

    This involves the ability to reach out to others and access information in multiple formats using technology. Digital access is all about bridging the gap between the digital haves and the have-nots.

  2. Digital Etiquette

    This is all about treating other digital users, especially those on social media platforms, with respect, acceptance and empathy. Inappropriate behavior such as any form of discrimination or cyberbullying has no place within digital etiquette.

  3. Digital Commerce

    Buying and selling of goods and services using digital technology must be transparent, timely and tailored for the customer’s needs and specifications.

  4. Digital Rights And Responsibilities

    The 9 elements of digital citizenship have a dual property in that they empower digital users with rights while also placing some key responsibilities on their shoulders. Digital rights include the freedom of speech and expression, the right to remain anonymous and the freedom to explore one’s identity. Such rights must be counterbalanced by digital responsibilities that protect the same rights for others.

  5. Digital Literacy

    To be digitally literate is to have a basic level of competence and proficiency in using digital software, such as creating an account on a website, sending an email, or preparing a presentation.

  6. Digital Law

    The most technical and specialized aspect of the 9 elements of digital citizenship is digital law, which encompasses the rules or guidelines within which all entities are supposed to interact and function in a digital environment.

  7. Digital Communication

    This element includes all the possible platforms and pathways in which digital users can communicate online, including but not restricted to social media, emails, games and virtual calls.

  8. Digital Health And Wellness

    This element focuses on protecting users’ psychological and physical well-being, from how to avoid getting triggered online to the amount of screen time that’s healthy.

  9. Digital Security

    The final element is about teaching digital citizens how to protect their identity and resources online by staying away from viruses, scams and strangers with fraudulent intentions.

Digital Citizenship Examples

Digital citizenship examples can range from the simple to the complex, from the benign to the consequential. A sample of digital citizenship examples are listed below:

  • Learning how to download antivirus software and use it to protect one’s device
  • Building a system of guidelines and protocols for safeguarding privacy before launching a virtual interaction featuring participants from across the world
  • Developing and teaching a leadership course online as part of digital citizenship for students
  • Reporting bullies and trolls on social media and blocking users who send inappropriate content on private chats

Become A Digital Citizenship Expert

Because of the vastness of digital technologies today, chiefly the internet, practically everyone is a digital citizen by default. But how can you optimize your digital citizenship to grow as a professional as well as a person? Harappa’s Learning Expertly course has the answers. Taught by a world-class faculty and structured around frameworks like the Growth Mindset, Kolb’s Learning Cycle and Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, this course will help you exhibit agility, embrace flexibility and display resilience on all things digital.

Sign up for the Learning Expertly course without any further ado and discover the endless possibilities in store for you as a competent digital citizen. 


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