It seems, as if overnight, our world has transformed itself into a digital one, where much of our lives happen online.
In a world where virtual reality threatens to overtake reality, and to not have an online presence of some sort, is to not exist at all (or so it seems), it has become vital to understand the rules and regulations of this brave new world.
Everyone, but especially children and young adults, need to be educated about digital citizenship and the rights and responsibilities that stem from it, just as much as they are educated about their real life citizenship and their roles.
There are many aspects that comprise the digital citizenship, but I would like to focus on five main categories:
As a concept, it can be most easily explained as having the ability to critically assess and understand the digital resources available online. Now, more than ever, we have a seemingly unrestricted access to information. The trick is to learn how to sift through it all, and to use this information to our advantage.
Ah, the dreaded word- and rightly so. Today many, if not most, internet users have experienced cyberbullying in some form. As always, children and young adults are most at risk for this behavior. Cyberbullying is a crime, and its effects can be far reaching, especially in real life. It is of utmost importance to teach our children how to react to it, and how to prevent it from happening.
A bit of a catch all phrase, but really, when it comes to digital citizenship, this is probably the most crucial part of it. Although digital safety can mean many things, it primarily pertains to safe behavior and habits that all children should practice while using the internet.
Teaching responsibility is an essential part of any education (and an even more essential part of growing up!), the the digital form is no less important. With great power comes great responsibility and the internet is no exception. While the online world provides us with plethora of opportunities, it is up to us to use them wisely, and with full awareness of potential consequences of our actions.
Digital Health and Wellness
A somewhat new concept, the field of digital health is just emerging. However, enough research exists to support the growing trend. While the online world has been booming and enthralling us all, it comes with its own set of side effects. It is important to teach our young about mental health and the effects the digital world can have on it. As always, prevention is better than cure.
The digital world has crept slowly into our lives, but it is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It is best that we learn to live with it. But more importantly, that we learn to live with it well- to treat it not as an obstacle, but rather a blessing in disguise that can make our life better.