Digital Citizenship~Dark or Light Side?!

How do we Educate Students? 

As a member of the “connector generation” (O’Brien, 2016) I have seen a shift in the classroom.  Within my lifetime, the way in which students receive education has changed due to the changing world around us.  Classrooms have gone from chalkboards to projectors and encyclopedias to Google.  Technology such as iPads and the unlimited sites filled with information are replacing the old dusty books with return dates.  The 21st century classroom is moving towards interactive classrooms as a means to engage students and teach at a level that is comparable to society.  Speaking as an educator enrolled in the Sustainability, Creativity and Innovation M. Ed program, the role of the teacher has changed from preparing students to enter the basic work force to preparing students to enter a world filled with technology and to act as critical thinkers with an entrepreneurial mindset.  As mentioned above, classrooms are evolving and welcoming technology.  However, with this change comes other issues that students and teachers need to address and combat so that technology is use to it fullest potential.  


Why is Digital Citizenship a Concern?

Digital citizenship has become a concern due to the increased access to technology and online gaming.  If children and adults are not taught how to act or interact with one another online, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is negative interactions taking place through private messaging and online chat rooms in addition to inappropriate web pages being accessed before children know how to process the information they are receiving.  Therefore, like anything new, education and resources need to be provided to people so that technology is not misused.

Possible Solutions:

Considering digital citizenship is a fairly new concept to me as I teach grade 5 and 5 years ago my students were not coming to school with cell phones and they did not have a huge presence on social media sites, I do not have the golden solution for creating good digital citizens.  In saying this, I think that preparing students of all ages to be good digital citizens is not the sole job of the teacher.  It requires the support of a child’s community (parents, adults, teaching staff and friends) and continuous positive messages.  Below is a short video which includes quick and easy suggestions.

Below is a graphic that I plan to introduce to students during the first week of school as I want to try and use Google Classroom with my class in the 2017-2018 school year.


As I read through other people’s short blogs on the world wide web, I came across Marti Weston’s perspective on digital citizenship.  I chose to include the link below because she approaches the issues as though it is no different then teaching students to be good citizens opposed to approaching digital citizenship as a separate entity.  Weston’s perspective changed my perspective of taking on another responsibility in the classroom because it is nothing more than what teachers are already doing.  Instead of strictly focuses on good manners and social norms in personal settings, teachers can identify how the same manners and rules should be followed online.  Approaching digital citizenship from this perspective takes away some of the dark side discussions that teachers have with their students.  I know that I am guilty of presenting students with all of the bad things that can happen to them online opposed to sharing knowledge from a positive perspective when it comes to online safety and etiquette.

Is It Digital Citizenship or Just Plain Citizenship? Posted by Marti Weston


Brien, C. (2016). Education for sustainable happiness and well-being. Basingstoke: Taylor & Francis Ltd.

C. (2016, November 13). How to be a Super Digital Citizen. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from

Digital Citizenship – Lessons – Tes Teach. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2017, from

E. (2012, March 14). Singapore’s 21st-Century Teaching Strategies (Education Everywhere Series). Retrieved July 6, 2017, from

E. (2012, March 15). What is 21st century education? Retrieved July 6, 2017, from

Weston, M. (2016, October 30). Is It Digital Citizenship or Just Plain Citizenship? Retrieved July 5, 2017, from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s