* Cartoon icons courtesy of Denis Cristo
Digital Citizenship for High School Students

Hello!  I'm glad you're here!  The odds are that you're one of the estimated 22 million teenagers in the United States [1].  In addition, you're most likely a digital native who uses online technologies and social media on an hourly basis.  It is estimated that 95% of school-age teenagers (13-18) are now online and the majority (81%) of these users use some form of social media [2].  You live in a time when you can connect with anyone anywhere at anytime.  The speed and transmission of communication is unparalleled compared to any other time in history.  The problem is that you've been released in a potentially dangerous environment with little instruction about how to protect yourself.  Knowing how to be a good digital citizen can protect you from some potentially serious issues that happen online.  I know you're thinking that this can't happen to you, but it has to happen to someone and the better you're informed the less likely it'll happen to you.

So who are you?
  • You probably own a cell phone (78% of teenagers do), half of those are smartphones (47%) [3].
  • In addition you are most likely accessing this site through your cell phone (74% of teenagers use their cell phone to access the internet) [3].
  • If you don't have a cell phone you most likely have computer access at home; nine in 10 (93%) of students have a computer or access to one at home [3].
  • You probably have a Facebook Account (77% of teens do) and maybe a Twitter account (24% of teens do) [2].
  • This is probably not the first time you've accessed the internet today because the average teenagers spends seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen of some sort [4].

Who needs digital citizenship?

Technology and social media are heavily integrated into almost every major aspect of society today.  Therefore, anyone who participates online needs to have a basic understanding about how to be a good digital citizen.  The skills that are associated with digital citizenship are meant to protect individuals in the short-term as well as for long-term periods.  Even though the vast majority of people engage on online activity they are not adequately prepared.  Most people learn from trial and error or mimicking others.   

What are you about to do?

This educational experience will take you through three different phases (digital footprint, online security, and online reputation) that are extremely important for your personal online protection.  All in all there are 12 different scenarios that you will examine and make value judgements about what to do.  After your decision for each scenario you will see the consequences of your choices!!  At the end of each section there will be a short assessment that will ultimately build towards a larger final assessment.

Thanks for starting this digital citizenship journey!  It's time for you to learn how to be a good digital citizen!  You will have to complete ALL three modules below and take the section assessment before you take the final summative assessment.  Feel free to complete these modules in any order.  Thanks!  Good Luck!!!


[1]    The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.  (2014). At a Glance for 

         2014 America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.  Child population:         

         Number of children (in millions) ages 0–17.  Retrieved from             


[2]    The Pew Research Center.  (2012).  The Pew Research Center's Internet & American 

         Life Teen-Parent Survey.  Teens Fact Sheet.  

         Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/teens-fact-sheet/.

[3]    Madden, M., Lenhardt, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U.  (2013). The Pew

         Research Center.  Teens and Technology 2013.  Retrieved from 


[4]    Lewin, T.  (2010). New York Times.  If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re probably online.