The 9 Elements of Digital Citzenship
Gaille, B. (2017, June 05). 39 important internet safety statistics. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://brandongaille.com/38-important-internet-safety-statistics/
Thoughts on the iCitizen Project:
The two groups involved Curran’s iCitizen project defined a digital citizen as “an individual who is aware, empathetic, socially responsible, and someone who believes in social justice and models being socially responsible both face-to-face and online” (as cited in Ribble, 2015). I like this definition because it considers the fluidity of interacting online and face-to-face. I have experienced countless instances where kids and adults alike will write or post something inflammatory or derogative about others online but would not dream of saying those things or acting aggressively face-to-face. Because our society spends so much time online, it is imperative that teachers and parents model empathy and compassion both online and face-to-face. Students need to internalize the fact saying something mean or hurtful to someone online is in many respects worse than saying it in person, because those words or pictures are there for all to see, and they can never be truly deleted and can have a lifelong impact on both parties. Therefore, teaching students from a young age to practice good citizenship both online and face-to-face has become even more important in today’s digital society.
Thoughts on Net Neutrality
Maintaining net neutrality has become a hot topic of discussion over the last several years. K-12 schools and higher-education institutions continue to move toward offering a more robust distance learning platform for virtual learners; however, if ISPs are allowed to control the flow of information, then they will essentially control what is being taught through distance learning platforms. Economically disadvantaged students and those who live in rural areas will be the ones who suffer the most. The end of net neutrality means that the existing education gaps would potentially become even wider, and student research could become more biased, as ISPs cater to those companies who can afford to push their information through at faster speeds and “block tools that interfere with their business interests or infuse educational content—and the pupils using it—with tracking, advertising, or other unwelcome intrusions” (Hogle, 2018).
With the repeal of the Net Neutrality laws, the gateway to internet censorship has been opened. The only way to ensure that our students are receiving all the information now is to do our research and only subscribe to those ISPs who do not filter the content they provide. It is my hope that Net Neutrality will once again be upheld by the federal government, or at the very least have internet service classified as utility (like electricity or water), so that internet providers cannot block or modify content that streams through their servers. “An open, affordable Internet is crucial to ensuring all students have access to educational opportunities in and out of school” (Gordon, 2017).