Digital Citizenship 101

There are 4 parts to understanding Digital Citizenship: Cyberbullying, a Digital Footprint, Protecting Online Privacy, and Intellectual Property. Let's learn more about each one:


Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices and media to repeatedly harass, threaten, humiliate, and otherwise hassle people. 

According to Common Sense Media, "Whether it's creating a fake social media page (i.e., Twitter or Facebook) to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments online, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through instant messaging or phone texting, and by posts on social networking sites. It can happen anytime, at school or home, and can involve large groups of children. The combination of the boldness created by being anonymous and the desire to be seen as "cool" can cause a child who normally would not say anything mean face-to-face to show off for other children."

Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is the trail of data that is left behind by users on digital services. Everything you post online combines to make your digital footprint. What you share with your friends may also be viewed by people you do not know. Remember, once it’s online, it could be there forever.
You can manage your digital footprint by:
  • Keeping your personal details private. Use a nickname instead of your real name and always ask your parents before giving out your name, address or phone number online.
  • Not sharing your username or password with anyone.
  • Thinking before you post. Once posted, it may be difficult to remove.
  • Not posting things that you don't want others to know about or that you wouldn’t say to their face.

Protecting Online Privacy

In a digital age, understanding how to protect personal information and electronic data is a vital skill. From keeping computer virus software updated to comprehending the implications of "data-mining," students need to understand the importance of protecting their online privacy and safety. 

Tips for Protecting Online Privacy
  • Use strong, unique passwords, no matter what type of device you are using.
  • Check that social network privacy settings are set to the most restricted levels.
  • Understand that nothing you post online is truly private. If you wouldn't want others to copy it or forward it, don't post it.
  • Minimize access to personal information. Lock or log off your computer when you're not using it.
  • When signing up for online programs or making online purchases, be sure to check for a privacy policy statement or seal that indicates the site follows privacy standards.
  • Think before you download - Spyware frequently invades computers when you download screensavers, games, music, and other applications.
  • Beware of opening email attachments from strangers - Viruses most commonly enter and infect your computer via attachments.

Source: Consumer.FTC.Gov

Intellectual Property

Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

Avoiding Plagiarism

You Quote It, You Note It – Interactive slideshow on how to avoid plagiarism.
BibMe – BibMe is an automated citation creator and bibliography generator that can save you loads of time building and formatting your references. 

Here’s a 90-second video introduction to show you how simple BibMe makes it to cite your sources.

Copyright Basics

Cyberbee’s Copyright Lessons and Resources – Excellent site for elementary students.

Copyright for Kids - From the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.

Copyright What’s Copyright? – Some basics – in a School House Rock format.

Fair Use Introduction

Center for Social Media – Site explains the importance of “transformativeness” when building an argument for fair use through videos such as User’s Rights, Section 107.

A Fair(y) Tale – This video remix from Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society is a great example of what “transformativeness” looks like.