Leading in the digital age is not rocket science.
All it takes is to be alert, aware and follow by some basic rules so that children are safe and secure in this era of web. The first and foremost thing is to understand the ethical use of web and abide by the digital citizenship rules by oneself. As to keep kids safe, one needs to be aware of all the right (to help them abide by the same) and wrong (to identify threats) practices.
“Students need to be educated on how to be good citizens of their country and what their rights and responsibilities are as members of society. The same issues need to be addressed with regard to the emerging digital society, so that students can learn how to be responsible and productive members of that society.” ― Mike Ribble, Digital Citizenship in School
We as elders are the ones who teach our kids about all the values they should live by, the difference between right and wrong and we are the ones who hand over this power of technology to our kids, thus it is our responsibility to make sure that the same is being used in the right ways. The idea is not to deprive them of opportunities and entertainment by restricting the use of technology just to academics but to make them understand the importance of using this technology responsibly.
Although, digital citizenship holds such an importance now that it is considered to be one of the important academic disciplines but in this article I am going to speak of it in terms of basic principle that we teach our kids to live by and how we can integrate these principles in our as well as their digital lives as well.
1. Respect for Yourself:
Self-respect is an important thing we all teach our kids. To respect oneself is to understand self-worth which limits us to engage in activities that have the capability to depreciate our respect for self. Speaking so, we need to teach our kids that when they go in the online world they need to understand their limits. Limit to the usage of internet to stay in the “right digital health”. Like the saying goes, too much of anything is bad. Similarly, too much of web is not good. Limit the usage in terms of the time you spend over web.
2. Responsibility for Yourself:
We teach our kids to feel responsible for their actions in real life and similarly we need to teach them to be responsible online as well. It is important to share the information over web wisely. The personal information you share online plays an important role and thus it needs some fair consideration and must be sieved with all the privacy policies that are there on various platforms that are being used.
The other aspect to this is “Identity Theft”. In the Digital Age, it is the misuse of the sensitive information that we put out there. This paper provides a discussion on the expansion of a crime that feeds on the inability of consumers to control who has access to sensitive information and how it is safeguarded.
3. Respect for Others:
We keep telling our kids to respect others and that has to be done online as well. This implies that kids must not engage in activities that can cause harm to others in any way. Teach them that every online activity has an offline impact. Online crimes such as cyber bullying, online harassment, stalking, speaking to others inappropriately, lewd comments and other such activities are not right and hence they should not do it. Teach your kids about the online courtesy and how they must practice it. Help them with the understanding of reaching out to people wisely, and with the right purpose. Also, kids must have this confidence that they can confide in you and reach you when they face situations that needs to be addressed under the supervision of adults.
4. Responsibility for Others:
Don’t we tell our kids to help their peers and act responsibly when they go out with others? Same is the case in the online life. Teach them to share the content carefully. Platforms like Facebook have made it easy for kids to share content. What elders need to do is to teach kids that they need to share the content that is authentic and content that comes from the right/official resources. In case they come across content that is inappropriate (which they surely will) they should take the right actions and as parents such incidents must be known to you. Also, they must take stand against cyber bullying and support those who are being troubled online.
5. Respect for Property:
This demands the proper use of citation. We don’t claim things of other people as ours in real life so why do it online!
Using web resources with citations or after taking permissions is the right way to do your “Research Project”. Teach your kids the importance of authentic content and that they need to be authentic with their work and if ever they use the work of others (which can be done to a minimal level) they need to cite the original source or in some cases take the permission from the owner of that source.
6. Responsibility for Property:
Yes, Online Thieves do exist! And these people hack into the systems to steal all the information which obviously should not be with them. The way to keep yourself safe is to take all the preventive measures like setting passwords and other such technical barriers. And, if ever encountered with such situation, cyber cells are there to help people out if crime is being reported, so you must do that!
The concern around digital piracy is also increasing day by day. Make sure you teach your kids that they need to stay away from pirated content and never indulge in any sort of piracy.
What are your thoughts on this post? Can we make it all simple by considering digital life as a part of our regular lives and treat it the same way, the responsible way?