You as a Digital Citizen
Australians love technology and have one of the highest take-up rates in the world. In fact, technology has become an integral part of our daily life. Today, billions of people all over the planet interact using various technologies. This has created a digital society with citizens that can connect through many avenues such as, education, commerce, employment, entertainment and social interaction. So, what is a digital citizen, are there rules, laws and behaviours that should be followed in a digital society and what happens when these are not adhered to?
A digital citizen can be defined as:
‘a person with the skills and knowledge to effectively use digital technologies to participate in society, communicate with others and create and consume digital content’ (Best Practice Framework for Online Safety Education, eSafety Commission, 2021)
Within any society, it is expected that digital citizens act in a certain way according to accepted behaviours, rules, and laws. Each of these will be covered in this resource. (This information can be written somewhere in the classroom to remind students about appropriate online behaviour.)
- Ask students to watch Commit to Digital Citizenship! and conduct a class callout identifying the video’s key messages as a citizen and then as a digital citizen. Discuss whether these messages pertain to behaviours, rules, or laws? (Mainly behaviours). It is important to emphasise that being online makes you no less responsible for your behaviour or calling out the behaviour of others. Online behaviour is pervasive, permanent and the impacts can multiply beyond the first action.
- Download the I’m a Digital Citizen poster and display it in the classroom so that you can refer to it throughout this theme.
- Mike Ribble, internationally renowned author of Digital Citizenship in Schools, suggests nine themes of digital citizenship that guide a S3 (Safe, Savvy and Social) Framework. Ask students to research the S3 Framework (found underneath the nine elements of digital citizenship). They can then complete the second column of the nine themes of digital citizenship work sheet. Share student’s responses as a class and discuss whether the school has or should have a digital citizenship policy, and what it does/could encompass. Conclude the activity by asking students to complete the third column of the table considering their class discussion.
Lesson Idea 1: You as a Digital Citizen
In the theme, Democratic Values, students explored the values that underpin being an Australian citizen. This lesson explores how these values underpin being a digital citizen, digital citizens’ rights, and how their digital footprint can ‘brand’ them into the future.
- Remind students that we all make sense of each other by the way we react when we meet/interact, whether this is face-to-face or online. What you do and say online is how people decide what kind of person you are.
- Provide each student with a copy of Australian Values and Digital Citizenship and conduct an ‘experts’ strategy to determine how each of our Australian values underpins being a digital citizen.
- Divide the class into seven groups and allocate one value to each group.
- Ask each group to appoint a facilitator and discuss what that value means as an Australian citizen and as an Australian digital citizen. They record their responses on their sheets.
- Form new groups with one student from each ‘expert’ group. All the ‘experts’ share what they have discussed, and students enter the information into their sheets.
- Ask students to draw a two circle Venn diagram to identify similarities and differences between being an Australian citizen and a digital citizen.
- Discuss as a class their responses and conclude the activity by asking students to write a paragraph explaining ‘the importance of not only being an Australian citizen but being an Australian digital citizen’.
- Explain that the UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was introduced over 30 years ago to determine the conditions in which children under 18 could flourish. The Convention on the Rights of the Child set out the freedoms and protections that countries must give children and young people under 18 years old. That was the same year the world wide web was invented and at that time people were not aware of the impact online access would have on young people. Recently the Committee on the Rights of the Child, have detailed how children should be treated in the digital world. Display the shorter version, In our own words – children’s rights in the digital world written by 11–17 year olds, on an interactive whiteboard and conduct a shared reading of the document. Ask students to identify their rights as a digital citizen and use this information to create a Digital Citizen’s rights poster. (Students may wish to use an app such as Canva to create their poster.) The most effective could be displayed around the school.
- Discuss as a class what is meant by the term ‘digital footprint’ and create a collaborative definition. (For example, the information about a particular person that exists on the internet because of their online activity.) Write it on the whiteboard. Watch What’s in your Digital Footprint. Refine the definition if required. Ask students to pair and share what they think their current digital footprint says about them as digital citizens.
Explain that the class is going to engage in the eSafety Commissioner activity, ‘What’s your brand?’. This activity explores the key elements of a positive digital reputation (footprint) and how a personal brand can be reinvented. Lesson guidelines can be accessed here and the PowerPoint here.
View the PowerPoint as a class via an interactive whiteboard and discuss the questions as they appear on the PowerPoint.
Conclude the activity by discussing and writing on the board next to the digital footprint definition, the appropriate digital behaviours that create a positive digital footprint.
- Play the online game Digital Compass. The game explores appropriate online behaviour and can only be played on laptops or desktops. This activity can be conducted as a class using an interactive whiteboard.
- If you wish to explore this theme in more depth, additional lesson plans and activities can be accessed via the eSafety Commissioner’s Young and eSafe resource.