Good digital citizenship in its essence is using technology responsibly and appropriately. Anyone on your team who interacts regularly online automatically becomes a digital citizen. Like any other community, digital citizenship requires your team members to behave in a mature and civil manner. Good citizens ensure that digital users have safe and pleasurable experiences.
Being a good citizen is important both online and off. The rules of citizenship for each are similar. When using digital technology, encourage your team members to be positive and helpful, and apply what works in real life in the digital realm.
What Is Digital Citizenship?
Digital citizens all belong to the digital society, and they need to adhere to the norms and rules that have been established. There are nine elements that people experience when they interact online. These interactions define what occurs in digital citizenship.
Nine Normal Elements:
- Access – Citizens have different levels of access. Full access should be a goal of citizenship.
- Commerce – Buying and selling online is increasing, and consumers need to be aware of what the purchase and the legality of their purchases.
- Communication – There are numerous ways to communicate online, and citizens need to make wise decisions in what and how they communicate.
- Literacy – Technological literacy requires people to keep up with digital changes.
- Etiquette – Citizenship comes with a responsibility to follow etiquette when communicating with others.
- Law – Citizens have a responsibility to behave ethically and be aware of laws governing them.
- Rights and Responsibilities – The rights of users are shared equally. These rights come with responsibilities.
- Health and wellness – Physical and psychological issues can occur when ergonomics and other problems are not addressed.
- Security – Citizens must take action to protect their information online.
Engaging with Others
Digital media allows your team members to communicate, collaborate, learn, and share online. When engaging with others online, it is important to behave as though they are in the room with you.
Tips to Engage:
- Be patient – Build relationships slowly. Aggressive attempts at communication can make people uncomfortable.
- Dialogue – Ask and answer questions to begin discussions.
- Share sparingly – It is important to share information, but be careful not to spam people.
- Maintain relationships – Build new friendships, but be sure to pay attention to existing relationships.
- Be respectful – Unless you are video chatting, it is difficult to convey tone. If you are not sure if something is respectful, do not type or say it.
It’s a Moving Target
Our digital lives are constantly evolving. The changes in technology are rapidly occurring, and our lives are shifting at a great pace. Over the past few decades, technology has changed the way we work, shop, and communicate. Social media is relatively new, but it is an integral part of society. As technology changes, the way your team interact change along with it. It is imperative that we pay attention as our tools change in order to remain relevant in our work and social lives. The target of technology is constantly changing, and we need to change with it.
Belonging to a Community
The ability to communicate is easy, inexpensive, and instantaneous in a digital world. Distance no longer limits our communication.
Methods of communication:
- Social media
- Instant messaging
Because communication is essential to any community, the digital world can help improve communities. Digital citizens are citizens of the Internet, and they are citizens of their personal and professional communities. When you are part of any community, you have a responsibility to communicate respectfully and expand relationships. Your team member must invest in their digital relationships with their time and interest. Remember that it takes time for a strong community to develop.
Build It Up
Your team members’ tone will define their digital presence. No matter the content that they produce or communication they make, it is essential that they attempt to remain positive. Build up their community, and avoid negativity. Positive content generates more traffic than negative content. This is because people will share positive content with their friends and family, which grows your community.
Your team will draw people if they feel that that team is able to help them. Provide useful information and tips. Invite people to ask questions, and develop a respectful dialogue. This cements relationships and leads to repeat viewings and communication. When your team members are good digital citizens, they encourage good citizenship in others.
Real World Influences
Real world influences are useful when examining your digital citizenship. If your team members are good citizens in real life, they will be good digital citizens. Consider what makes a good public citizen. Examples include participation, civility, meeting responsibilities, and obeying laws. Translate real world ideas into conduct online.
Use Technology Appropriately
Technology needs to be used responsibly. All activity needs to be both legal and ethical. How you use technology will depend on where your team members are and what they are doing. For example, it is unethical to download and play games at work, but it is perfectly acceptable to do so at home.
There are basic rules and laws that govern digital citizenship. For example, the Internet is not free. Using a neighbor’s connection is not only illegal; it is inconsiderate because it slows the Internet speed for paying customers. Additionally, your team should avoid pirated software, music, movies, etc. These downloads are illegal, and some questionable websites increase their chance of contracting a computer virus.
The Golden Rule
Treating others the way that you would like to be treated is the golden rule. This should be applied in all areas of life, including digital life. Encourage your team members to treat themselves and others with respect. They should not communicate in a way that they would consider rude or disrespectful as the receiver. Obeying the golden rule sounds easy, but many problems occur because this rule is ignored. Your team members should think before they communicate; they should not act out of emotion.