Wednesday, June 25, 2008
What makes good digital citizens?
The answer at Digizen.org points to the next phase, I think, of all our efforts in online safety: "Digital citizenship isn’t just about recognising and dealing with online hazards. It's about building safe spaces and communities, understanding how to manage personal information, and about being Internet savvy - using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way, and inspiring others to do the same." That helps me think about how to teach children accountability for their behavior online. If they begin to see online environments as communities they're helping to shape so that they have a stake in appearance, atmosphere, and outcomes of activity within them, they'll simply act more accountably. Maybe disinhibition and anonymity become less problematic when users are citizens as much as socializers. Digizen.org, a report from UK-based Childnet International, looks at social networking with this potential in mind. The report examines the risks but also how the social Web is "being used to support personalised formal and informal learning by young people in schools and colleges." The site defines social networking and links to a pdf comparison chart of seven social network sites. An equally important section of the Digizen.org site addresses cyberbullying, with advice on how to "embed anti-bullying work in schools" and some powerful video teaching tools.