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Understanding the Importance of Digital Citizenship with News-O-Matic

It’s back-to-school time, and as these future-ready students gear up to head back into the classroom, we’re going to dive into the importance of digital citizenship. This topic will not only aid them in their quest to become responsible global citizens, but also help keep them safe as they navigate the digital realm.

What is Digital Citizenship?

Karen Mossberger, an American political scientist and the author of Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation, defines digital citizens as individuals who regularly and effectively use the internet. In this day and age, with so much of our time spent online, digital citizenship is evolving to encompass safe and responsible navigation of the digital world. The digital revolution offers immense opportunities but also presents significant challenges, particularly for children and young people. These obstacles include misinformation, cyberbullying, data privacy, and digital addiction. It is crucial to provide students and educators with the tools and knowledge they need in order to effectively address these challenges.

Three Key Principles:

Mike Ribble, the author of Digital Citizenship in Schools, developed three principles (Respect, Educate, and Protect) in order to educate and inform users on how to responsibly use technology. Within these three principles, nine elements of digital citizenship are contained: digital security, digital health, digital etiquette, digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital rights, digital literacy, and digital law. Ribble believes it’s important to educate students and make them aware that their online presence and digital activity can impact their security, physical, and mental health.

When should children begin learning about digital citizenship?

Introducing digital citizenship education at an early age has a positive impact on children's online behavior. This education provides them with an awareness of the potential dangers that are lurking online, leading to more responsible decision-making regarding their digital activities. In other words, they refrain from using their social media accounts to bully, or share personal information, and they have enough knowledge to critically evaluate the information they encounter on the internet.

How can News-O-Matic support digital citizenship?

News-O-Matic is a digital learning platform that offers relevant and appropriate news articles, vetted by a child psychologist, and written just for students. We support educators and believe it is important to encourage the ethical use of digital tools and to promote a safe, inclusive, and democratic online environment. News-O-Matic’s authentic and relevant articles, questions, discussion prompts, multimedia resources, and citations, enhance students’ critical and innovative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and socio-emotional skills.

News-O-Matic’s core principles align with those of digital citizenship and therefore, can be a powerful tool to promote responsible internet behavior among younger students. Teachers can rest assured knowing that their students will be navigating a safe and secure learning platform, designed to encourage student expression and autonomy.

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