The current generation is ‘internet-trained’ right from a very young age, and this trend just got further enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic where children are attending school online, socializing online and even graduating online.
It’s now more important than ever before to ensure that these children get properly guided to navigate the digital world in a safe way and become responsible digital citizens from an early age onwards. Responsible digital citizenship refers to the appropriate use of technology in a safe, ethical, respectful and knowledgeable way. An ideal digital citizen should:
- Should behave respectfully in online communication
- Should protect their privacy and reputation
- Should behave lawfully
- Should know their online rights and responsibilities
- Should think about the impact of their online activities on themselves and others
A digitally responsible citizen should ideally be defined by:
While your child should be able to empathize with others online, they should also understand that cyberbullying and being cruel isn’t right. Teach them to report cyberbullying and abusive behavior. You should also remind them that behind every virtual profile and social media account, real people exist; and that they need to think about the impact of their words before writing anything to them.
Safety and Resilience
Despite of installing parental controls, it can sometimes get difficult to filter out all potential digital dangers such as cyberbullying, inappropriate disturbing content and radicalization. In which case, it’s better to equip your young ones with the skills to handle such situations and trust you enough to come to you when they face such dangers.
You need to arm your kid with knowledge of some of the fake and dangerous media information they might come across while surfing the web. Teach them about invasive advertising and fake web addresses with poor grammar or ending with ‘.info’ or ‘in.biz’ or insecure URLs without the lock symbol or ‘HTTPS’ in them.
Teach your kids that nothing online is private and about the potential consequences of what they post on social media in the long term. Though internet-enabled technology is a powerful tool, teach your kids about the importance of limiting screen-time and staying connected with the real world too.