Digital Citizenship For Life After COVID-19

When in doubt, hit delete… or maybe ask a friend.

“I am a citizen of the world” -Diogenes
(Greek Philosopher)

We have no idea how long it will take for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass. Work from home policies have been in place for weeks — or even months in some countries. Digital work has become our new norm but how well are we coping?

The virus has forced a societal shift from physical interactions to increasingly digital ones. This means our point of human contact, for the most part, are internet communities. If we look at the broader picture, the effective use of technology has never been more critical.

The trend of working from home has created a big moment for learning and closing the skills gap.

The most appropriate skill to learn at this moment would be the skill of “digital citizenship”. Mike Ribble (an American educator who has written prolifically on the topic of digital citizenship) defines it as using technology responsibly and appropriately. Anyone who regularly interacts online automatically becomes a digital citizen.

Digital citizens are people of the Internet and of their personal and professional communities. When you’re part of any community, you have a responsibility to communicate respectfully, just as you would in person.

Invest in your digital relationships with your time and interest. Remember that it takes time for a strong community to develop.

Digital media allows us to easily communicate, collaborate, learn, and share online. Therefore, digital citizenship will only get more pronounced in the coming times. When engaging with others online, it is important to behave as though they are in the room with you.

Like any other community, digital citizenship requires members to behave in a mature and civil manner. Good citizens ensure that digital users have safe and pleasurable experiences.

Tips to Engage

Be patient.
Build relationships slowly. Aggressive attempts at communication can make people uncomfortable.

Ask and answer questions to begin discussions.

Share sparingly.
It is important to share information, but be careful not to spam people.

Maintain relationships!
Build new friendships, but be sure to pay attention to existing relationships. There’s someone waiting for your response… you know who you are.

Be respectful.
Unless you’re video chatting, it is difficult to convey tone. If you’re not sure if something is respectful, do not type or say it.

The 9 Elements

There are nine elements that people experience when they interact online. These interactions define what occurs in digital citizenship. Our identity itself will essentially include elements from the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship and holistically describe the components of a person’s digital membership.

1. Digital Access
Citizens have different levels of access. Full access should be a goal of citizenship.

2. Digital Commerce
Buying and selling online is increasing, and consumers need to be aware of what the purchase and the legality of their purchases.

3. Digital Communication
There are numerous ways to communicate online, and citizens need to make wise decisions in what and how they communicate.

4. Digital Literacy
Technological literacy requires people to keep up with digital changes.

5. Digital Etiquette
Citizenship comes with a responsibility to follow etiquette when communicating with others.

6. Digital Law
Citizens have a responsibility to behave ethically and be aware of laws governing them.

7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
The rights of users are shared equally. These rights come with responsibilities.

8. Digital Health and Wellness
Physical and psychological issues can occur when ergonomics and other problems are not addressed.

9. Digital Security
Citizens must take action to protect their information online.

The ways that we connect, communicate, and conduct business will transform after COVID -19, which is why it’s important to learn basic citizenship skills. These will help prevent missteps and keep your digital relationships running smoothly.

Seriously! It’s a skill you can work on.

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