From the Dr. Seuss book 'Oh the Places You’ll Go'
"You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good streets."

"Digital Citizenship can be defined as being an ethical and responsible citizen of the infoverse."


Dr. Mike Ribble, K-State graduate, has developed a plan for Digital Citizenship. Dr. Ribble separates the rights and responsibilities of every digital citizen into nine themes. Dr Ribble published a book for educators called Digital Citizenship for Schools. He is currently working on a new book specifically for parents called Raising a Digital Child.
(http://digital-citizenship.wikispaces.com/)


Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure. Technology leaders will recognize this area as one of the most pressing problems when dealing with digital citizenship. What is appropriate and inappropriate electronic behavior? We recognize inappropriate behavior when we see it, but schools seldom teach digital etiquette (i.e., appropriate conduct) as part of the regular curriculum. Outside school, violations of digital etiquette are ignored. Inside schools, we create rules and regulation or even ban the technology that is being used inappropriately. It is not enough to create rules and policy, we must teach students to become responsible digital citizens in school as well as in society.

Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information. One of the significant changes with the digital revolution is a person’s ability to communicate with other people. In the 19th century, forms of communication were limited. In the 21st century, forms of communication have exploded to offer a wide variety of choices (e.g., e-mail, cellular phones, instant messaging) The expanding digital communication options has changed everything because people are able to keep in constant communication with anyone else. Anyone is afforded the opportunity to access information anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, many administrators, teachers, students, and the general public have not been taught how to make appropriate decisions when faced so many different digital communication options.


Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology. While schools have made great progress in the area of technology infusion, much remains to be done. A renewed focus must be made on what technologies must be taught as well as how it should be used. New technologies are finding their way into the work place that are not being used in schools (e.g., videoconferencing, Online Course Management Systems such as Blackboard). In addition, workers in many different occupations need information when they need it (just-in-time information). This process requires sophisticated searching and processing skills (i.e., information literacy). Learners must be taught how to learn in a digital society. In other words, learners must be taught to learn anything, anytime, anywhere because society has begun to “learn in this manner.” Business, military, and medicine are excellent examples of how technology is being used differently in the 21st century. As new technologies emerge, students must be taught how to use that technology quickly and appropriately. Digital citizenship involves educating a new breed of person—information workers with a high degree of information literacy skills.

Digital Access: full electronic participation in society regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, and physical or mental challenges. Technology leaders must be aware and support electronic access for everyone to create a foundation for digital citizenship. Digital exclusion of any kind does not enhance the growth of human beings in an electronic society. One gender should not have preferential treatment over another. Electronic access should not be determined by race. All ethnic groups should have equal access. Physical or mental challenges that prevent access to technology have to be overcome. Digital citizenship includes a commitment to equal digital access. To become productive citizenships, we need institutions that are committed to equal digital access.

Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods. Technology leaders need to understand that a large share of market economy is being done electronically. Legitimate and legal exchanges are occurring. The mainstream availability of Internet purchases of toys, clothing, cars, food, etc. has become commonplace. At the same time, an equal amount of illegal goods and services are surfacing such as pornography and gambling. Access to almost any product raises the question of legal and illegal acts by the user. Students need to be taught that options in a non-electronic society are also found in an electronic society. The rise of the digital economy does not change the issue of right and wrong, but it does enhance the user’s access to buying and selling goods, which magnifies the issue of illegal activities.

Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds which is either ethical or unethical. Digital responsibility deals with the ethics of technology. Unethical use manifests itself in form of theft and/or crime. Ethical use manifests itself in the form of abiding by the laws of society. Students should not be able to steal or cause damage to other people’s work, identity, or property. There are certain rules of society that fall under illegal acts. These laws apply to students as well. Hacking into others information, downloading illegal music, plagiarizing, creating destructive worms, viruses or creating Trojan Horses, sending spam, or stealing anyone’s identify or property is unethical irrespective whether it used with school property or personal property.

Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to every student, administrator, teacher, parent or community member. Just as in the American Constitution where there is a Bill of Rights, there is a basic set of rights extended to every digital citizen. Digital citizens have the right to privacy, free speech, etc. Basic digital rights must be addressed, discussed, and understood in the school district.

Digital Health & Wellness: free from digital danger and guaranteed digital physical and psychological well being. Eye safety, repetitive stress syndrome, and sound ergonomic practices deal with digital safety. In addition students need to be aware of threats from digital predators that they may come into contact with online. Students must me taught that there inherent dangers of technology. Digital citizenship includes a school culture where technology users are taught how to protect themselves through education and training.

Digital Security (self-protection): taking necessary precautions to guarantee electronic digital safety. In any society, there are individuals who steal, deface, or disrupt other people. The same is true for the digital community. It is not enough to trust other members in the community for our own safety. In our own homes, we put locks on our doors and fire alarms in our houses to provide some level of protection. The same must be true for the digital security. We need to have virus protection, backups of data, and surge control of our equipment. As responsible citizens, we must protect our information from outside forces that might cause disruption or harm.


Ribble, Mike. "Digital Citizenship-Home." Nine Themes. 25 APR 2006. 28 Sep 2008 <http://www.coe.ksu.edu/digitalcitizenship/NineThemes.htm>.