By now it’s become clear: For all its wonders, the digital age has also introduced its fair share of challenges. From social media and cyberbullying to cybercrime, internet addiction and online privacy concerns, today’s students face a wide range of difficult issues that previous generations never had to think about.
As a result, teachers, school leaders and parents are called on to add a whole new idea to our curricula: digital citizenship.
And yet, we don’t have to start from scratch. The elements of digital citizenship, it turns out, are not so different from the basic tenets of traditional citizenship: Be kind, respectful and responsible, and just do the right thing.
What’s new — for educators as well as students — is learning how to apply these ideals to the digital age. Just as all kids throughout the centuries have needed help from their parents, teachers and mentors along the path to becoming good citizens, our digital natives still need guidance as they learn how to apply the elements of citizenship to the realities they encounter in a connected world.