Digital Citizenship: More Important Than Ever

Respect, educate, prevent and protect are commonly associated with digital citizenship.  Today, we are finding these common elements are more important than even when it comes to how students and adults conduct themselves, especially on social media.

Digital Citizenship as defined in an article written by Terry Heick, is “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patters that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.”

Heick goes on to write, “As more and more students interact digitally – with content, one another, and various communities – the concept of digital citizenship becomes increasingly important.”  “The Definition of Digital Citizenship” (2017).

Heavy use of information technology today requires certain sites to set and enforce a standard of digital etiquette that involves the use of appropriate behavior and language. Without such expectations digital citizens may experience digital laws broken, rights violated, physical and mental stress, and/or online security jeopardized.

Impact of Social Media on Learning

Does social media impact learning?  Let’s look at the positive and negative impact of social media on learning.

Positive impact for learning ~ digital communication skills that need to be mastered including texting, tweeting, and Instagramming can be strengthened.  Students are more willing to complete assignments when they can use technology to research and share information, communicate or create ideas.

Using social media can foster collaborative community learning environments.  Students have options for creating authentic, creative work through blogs, YouTube, or podcasts – just to name a few.  It is yet to be seen whether or not social media can improve grades.

Negative impact for learning ~ Using social media can cause overstimulation and lack of focus, cyberbullying and plagiarism, distraction to the point of failure, poor decision-making leading to a negative digital footprint, and lack of adequate cyber security to protect students.  In addition, students unable to navigate platforms and operating systems find themselves at a disadvantage.

When it comes to students using social media, the impact on learning can be both positive and negative.

Facebook:10 Reasons To Spend Less Time

  1. Personal free time spent checking Facebook and other social media sites takes time that could be spent with someone in your real life.
  2. How do you define friends? The definition of friend has become fuzzy in our  social media world.  Facebook friends may like your posts but most won’t be available in real time or when you truly need it.
  3. Facebook and other social media can bring out the worst in people. From the safety of a computer, people feel entitled to judge, often bashing those that don’t agree with their views.
  4. Competing with friends gets old. You see your Facebook friends’ posts with amazing photos of events and activities.  You feel compelled to post something of your own to keep yourself relevant.  Before you know it, competing can be exhausting.
  5. Facebook uses your data. You wouldn’t publicize or share your private data with just anyone, so why allow  access to your information and sell it?
  6. The influence of fake news. Fake news articles posted and shared  may have influenced the outcome of the last presidential election. While we may not know if that is truly the case, we do know that it is one of the biggest sources of news today and voters read the fake content. Even with task forces trying to control it, fake stories and misinformation persists.
  7. Social manipulation. Facebook will suggest friends based on the friends you already have, pages you like or info you may share.  These may be subtle tactics to suggest broadening your network, but it is essentially social manipulation.
  8. Exposure to excessive advertising. It seems the ads on Facebook now outnumber posts from friends and family.  Why would you want to spend valuable time looking at advertisements telling you about a product you recently searched on Amazon last week or a retailer a Facebook “friend” likes?
  9. Protecting your digital reputation. What began as a fun way to share our lives with friends and family has become a hunting ground for colleges and companies as a way to background check and possibly eliminate, potential candidates.  Your digital reputation can be impacted every time you post or like something  and/or any time you are tagged.
  10. Increasing anxiety and depression. Research clearly shows that the more time you spend on Facebook and other social media, the more anxious and depressed you are likely to become.