Introduction to Digital Citizenship

What does it mean to be a good digital citizen

This past week, I have learned the official rights to a citizen when using technology to communicate online or through any means necessary digitally. Through the readings in the Ribble text, I have discovered his meanings and explanations of what a good digital citizen is. Digital citizenship can be described as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior about technology use. Good digital citizens work to help create a society of users who help others learn how to use technology appropriately (Ribble, 2015).  As well as, compared the differences in what citizenship means vs digital citizenship. I retrieved the definition of citizenship from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary in order to obtain a better meaning of what us in society are when we mimic a good citizen. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary online, the fact or status of being a citizen of a particular place and/or the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community describes citizenship (Merriam-Webster, 2019).  After my discovery I realized digital citizenship vs. citizenship has minimal differences. They both establish the fact that you belong to a community, one to a digital community and the other to a national or governmental community. Therefore, they both describe a place where you are responsible to take care of those communities. They both describe a place where you are the person making the choices in your community that can affect your ultimate outcome in the future.

 We as educators need to make sure our students as well as ourselves understand and take responsibility when posting or submitting work via that Internet. Reviewing this information with our students and letting them understand how being a good citizen also means being a good citizen while using their electronics will help break down a barrier. They need to understand that what decision they make today could affect them in 2045 and being that good citizen in 2019 might allow them to be an exceptional citizen in their professional role. 

Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

Shown below Ribble also, express his thoughts on the nine elements of digital citizenship and how each has its own importance.

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Digital access – Citizens have different levels of access.  Full access should be a goal of citizenship.

Digital commerce – Buying and selling online is increasing exponentially, and consumers need to be aware of what to purchase and the legality of their purchases.

Digital communication – There are numerous ways to communicate online, and citizens need to make wise decisions in what and how they communicate.

Digital literacy – Technological literacy requires citizens keep up with digital changes.

Digital etiquette – Citizenship comes with a responsibility to follow etiquette when communicating with others.

Digital law – Citizens have a responsibility to behave ethically and be aware of laws governing them.

Digital rights and responsibilities – The rights of users are shared equally.  These rights come with responsibilities.

Digital health and wellness – Physical and psychological issues can occur when ergonomics and other problems are not addressed.

Digital security – Citizens must take action to protect their information online.

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 Many of this impacts my program, students, and myself personally. I need to consider what is important when expressing what I want to model to my students and how I want them to reciprocate digital citizenship. Therefore, after reviewing the nine elements of digital citizenship I believe that digital communication, law, and rights and responsibilities are most important to my program and students. Digital communication involves emailing or texting information. When I think of think element, I relate it back to (HIPAA) laws. Therefore, we do not allow our students to bring in their cell phones to the hospital. We start with not allowing them on in our classroom while lectures are going on. Our health careers programs have tried to eliminate our students from sending any patient information out while in a facility and to teach them the importance of patient privacy. Next, is Digital Law I think of plagiarizing case studies and research papers when I review this element. I have tried to establish the importance of plagiarizing papers to our students. One way I have tried to eliminate this is to have them write their papers over specific patients they have helped with their instructors. Also, I have incorporated student owned presentations. Digital Rights and Responsibilities would also be important to my program. Recently, we have had issues with students cheating in our computer lab on exams from copy and pasting to Google from blackboard exams. This was over multiple programs. We have tried many ways to stop this from happening, but we cannot always catch them. Therefore, this semester our college has purchased a lock down browser for blackboard and we will have to advise them why we have chosen to do this going forward. 

Therefore, during this week I have reflected and learned so many new ways to communicate with my students and myself on how to take accountability when using digital resources. I believe it is an important aspect even at the college level to learn. Especially, for professionals and those going into health care. There are many aspects of law that could get students into trouble in such a fast moment when dealing with healthcare. It is my responsibility that I am communicating these aspects to them. This week has helped me with the approach and when to introduce this to my students.


Merriam-Webster. (2019). Citizenship. Retrieved from.

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education 

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