By its definition alone, digital citizenship should be a compulsory subject taught in schools globally today. The current internet age demands that every user, young or old, is safe and understands how to protect their information while at it. It is nearly impossible to control the penetration of the internet into the lives of young people.
For this reason, educators are now doing their best to help young people and children have access to digital citizenship education. The young can now participate safely, effectively, and responsibly in their day-to-day social media interactions with this education.
With the world becoming more reliant on the internet by day, children are only necessary to get equipped with the right knowledge early. That is why the idea of digital citizenship education is quickly gaining momentum and will soon be taught globally.
The Need for Having Digital Citizenship Education in School Curriculum
Here are some of the reasons why modern schools’ curricula need to include digital citizenship education.
1. Password Creation and Management
Students must understand how to create strong passwords and how to manage them. In digital citizenship education, you will teach students the need to have strong passwords, especially for online banking and email accounts. They will also learn the importance of using different passwords for different sites and accounts to avoid easy traceability.
Additionally, the subject teaches students the need to use systems like LastPass to manage passwords. You can also advise them on the importance of using safe apps to store the passwords for future reference.
2. Protection of Private Information
As a teacher, you should let your students know the difference between general information they can share publicly and private information. While teaching digital citizenship, you can’t fail to mention that the information students use to identify themselves is private and need to be treated as such.
Help them understand that they need to protect details like their physical addresses, phone numbers, and emails. They can only give out this information to trusted sites, which you can guide them on identifying. For instance, if a student needs writing services from a reputable essay writing site like essayservice.com, you can teach them the questions they can expect concerning personal data.
Make them understand that when they are paying for such services, they need to be careful with their credit card information. The good news is that all this information is covered in the digital citizenship lessons.
3. The Distinction Between Truth and Fiction
As a student, you need ‘vaccination’ from probable scams and false information that you are likely to meet online. Teachers will guide you on how to distinguish information that sounds true but is not. You will also learn how to determine those that are true but sound crazy and unrealistic.
You will also be safe from virus attacks that mostly come in enticing titles and topics to lure you into clicking and getting caught in the game.
4. Fast Understanding of User Data
Every company your students will visit or tools they will use online will ask for their data for effective coordination between the student and the company website. Sometimes this data is just a compilation of simple questions on general personal information. But in some other circumstances, the data needed could be more detailed, and one could be asked more than they are willing to give.
While some companies use this data to shape their marketing trend, others use it to make money by trading it. They sell your student’s personal information to the highest bidder. You should let your students know that the law protects minors and that no one should collect information about them on any online platform.
It is also essential to remind your students that some organizations like Facebook and Google might track your internet behavior outside their website. With such knowledge, your students will know what to share and what to expose on social media.
5. Acknowledging the Digital Divide
The digital divide is the difference that exists between those that have access to modern digital tools like tablets and the internet and those who lack them. Digital citizenship education will help learners understand that access to the internet and computers is still a challenge to many people worldwide.
Finance is a crucial determinant of whether someone will access the internet or not. This means those in poverty won’t access these needs and understand that helps you deal with people in an understanding manner. With America having over 24% of its citizens unable to access the internet, you can be more accommodative to someone if they do not understand some techniques.
Additionally, depending on the wealth distribution patterns, a given area may have more affected parties than others. This means there is more need for digital citizenship education in some areas than it is in others.
If you don’t make it known to your students that the digital divide is a reality, they might end up believing everyone has equal access to modern digital tools. This may lead to negative reactions against those who genuinely don’t understand the current trends.
Digital citizenship education is an idea that came just at the right time when needed. Every day, young people open social media accounts, and they do so without sufficient education on how to manage these accounts. No wonder the rising number of moral decay and vulgar languages portrayed in these platforms. With knowledge of digital citizenship, these alarming trends will be events of the past.