I always remind my kids that the internet is a "very, very, bad place, full of very, very, bad people." They can't seem to believe it - as the internet, for them, is a wonderful experience - getting to play games, chatting with their friends, posting their funny videos, and sharing their pics online. Of course, we - as responsible adults, know better.
In a virtual world with (almost) no rules, there has to be a certain "Code of Conduct" to govern the internet. Unfortunately, there are none. There is, however, a concept - fairly new - relative to the existence of the internet, and we're going to discuss it this week. This week's industry jargon: Digital Citizenship.
Digital Citizenship is a fairly new concept; with the term most probably emerging during the proliferation of social media networks. Arguably, social media has been one of the best things to happen to us within the past decade. However, the advent of social media also brought about the prevalence of online harassment, cyberbullying, 'trolling,' online shaming, stalking, and even cases of suicide, kidnapping, rape, and murder originating from online activities. It can then be deduced that whatever we do "virtually" also greatly affects "reality." This 'dark side of the internet' is what digital citizenship is fighting against.
Here's an experiment by Coby Persin showing us how dangerous social media/the internet can be.
Digital citizenship should play a significant part of our lives because we spend most of our life online - we do most of our work on computers, we communicate through messaging applications, and we share our lives through social media. What's even more important is that our children are also exposed to this technology; and thus, can fall victim to the real dangers of the internet (as exemplified by Coby Persin's experiment). Don't you think it's about time we all get educated on digital citizenship?
We have Social Studies and History to help us become aware of our responsibility in nation-building. We tackle Values Formation (or in some schools - Religion) to better understand our responsibility towards each other. We have STEM and Computer subjects to better prepare us to be part of a global workforce.
In a tech-immersed society like ours, don't you think it's time to also discuss our responsibility for each other online?
I'm sure you'd all answer 'yes.' I think so too...
Here's a short video by Amy Loder that shares 5 tips on how to become a responsible digital citizen. Cheers!