Do you regularly browse on Internet from your computer, Smartphone or tablet and think the web holds no secrets for you ? Have you heard of Digital citizenship ? Do you believe to exhibit responsible behavior while online?

This article helps you to be a smarter user of digital technologies.

What is a digital citizen ?

The observation is unavoidable: our daily routine is no longer limited to a physical world. Since the beginning of the world wide web, we, modern men, are increasingly living in a virtual world. Therefore, the concept of Digital Citizenship was created. As part of an online community, we now have a duty as a Digital Citizen in addition to our normal citizenship.

TICE-Education, a French website on digital education, defines digital citizenship as “the efficient and positive handling of digital technologies (creating, working, sharing, building social relationships, searching, playing, communicating and learning)” (translated from French, in “Le projet « Éducation à la citoyenneté numérique » (ECN)”).

What is a good digital citizen ?

Even though you may feel anonymous and/or untouchable behind a screen, this is far from the case. Just like in non-virtual life, you should be a responsible individual and have an ethical behavior.

Do you think you are a good digital citizen ?

You are a good digital citizen if…

… you respect others’ feelings

Don’t be a cyberbully and show you are public-spirited. It is essential to carefully choose your words and to not harm anyone. As an example, do not swear or use foul language while playing video games, when posting a comment in social networks or when reviewing products or companies.

… you protect your privacy

Do not disclose your personal information as it could be used by ill-intentioned people.

Here are some important recommendations:

– Think before you post: do not share information or pictures that are too personal and could be used against you.

– Ensure you are on a trusted website when shopping online.
– Use different passwords to secure access to your various accounts.

You will find further details on:
AVG – How to check if a website is safe (2017/12/12)

– the US Federal Trade Commission website, How to keep your personal information secure – Consumer Information – July 2012

… you respect other rights to privacy and copyrights

Although any information you are looking for can be accessed in just one click, this does not mean that you can reuse it without caring about the people to whom this belongs.

As a digital citizen you have the duty to:

– respect the rights to one’s image.
Before sharing someone’s else picture on social networks, ensure it will not violate his privacy and ask them first their consent.

– respect copyrights.
Plagiarizing a document or a picture, or downloading illegally music, software or movies is a crime, just as stealing in stores.

See advices on Ways to tell if an image is copyrighted – from DrumBeat Marketing

Follow these rules to be a responsible digital citizen and to avoid your online activity to have unwanted impacts onto your real life.

 

To go further:

– Ten basic rules for Internet security.
By the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI). Available Here.

– The “Digital Citizenship Education Project” (DCE).
Article from the Council of Europe. (in English)
Article from TICE-Education. (in French).

– Get Cyber safe, Government of Canada: Helping your Child Become a good Digital Citizen.