How do you build good digital citizens?

Great question, right?

If only there was a magic spell that we could cast on students to ensure that they were being safe, kind, and responsible online (as well as in their real lives!). Since there isn’t, we have to teach students these things, and as the digital world grows, so does the need for solid digital citizenship skills. There are so many aspects to digital citizenship—from password security and being aware of your digital footprint, to knowing how to choose reliable sources and how to cite properly—it’s hard to know where to start.

We wondered what some of our favorite educators thought was most important, so we asked them… “What is the most important thing you do to create digital citizens?” Here’s what a few of them had to say…

Kyra Kreinbrook (@kkreinbrook), Coordinator of Library Service and Instructional Resources—Montgomery County Public Schools, MD:

I really attempt to make students responsible for their own learning and aware of the information that they are using. I want students to think critically about the information they are using and how information and the words they choose can be so powerful to convey their ideas to others.

Terry Roper (@r10library), Library Consultant—Region 10 Education Service Center, TX: “I seek to make students aware of how interconnected the world is. I want students to realize how wonderful this can be as well as the downsides to this interconnectedness. Students today may take this for granted with the prevalence of social media and instant notoriety. They expect instant news as well as instant ‘non-news’ with little thought of repercussions or consequences. I think it is important to model ethical use of information, appropriate digital etiquette, and web safety and to provide students with safe authentic experiences with online arenas.”

Anita Cellucci (@anitacellucci), Media Specialist—Westborough High School, MA (@whslibrary): “Digital citizens need to have exposure to authentic learning environments in many types of situations. Showing students why they need to be digital citizens is as important as showing them how.”

Carl Harvey (@caharvey2), Library Media Specialist—Longwood University, VA: “I think the most important thing that we can do to create good digital citizens is to model that behavior. We can help show the next generation how to be good digital citizens by our actions and our words!”

At Britannica we think a lot about how we can help students and educators be strong digital citizens. Check out our Are You a Good Digital Citizen? checklist and see if you know how to use technology in a safe and sensible way—for study and play!

Sara Torpey

Curriculum Spct.

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