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Browsing the Family Online Safety Directory
To get the most from the Family Online Safety Directory, use the drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the page to access topics of interest. To navigate to a different section, use the menus under the Family Online Safety header on the left-hand side of the page.

Definition

Digital citizenship tends to refer to norms of behavior in relation to the use of new technologies. For FOSI, it’s bound up with the need to build a culture of responsibility, as demonstrated in the diagram contained in the document below.

Click here to download document

Issues

Parents and teachers need to protect children from the potential dangers of the Internet, keeping them safe from physical, psychological and reputational harm.

Although parents and teachers are the most direct guardians, they are not the only forces to keep children safe from harm. There are six layers of society that must accept responsibility for keeping kids safe online. Many of these entities are already taking great strides towards a safer Internet, but it takes all of the components working together to really make the Web safer.

  • Government must provide reasonable oversight and support, fund research, promote educational messages and craft reasonable laws.
  • Fully resourced law enforcement must be enhanced to deal with the highly sophisticated ways criminals are exploiting online weaknesses to take advantage of users’ personal information.
  • The Internet industry must support self-regulatory efforts to protect kids from the worst of the web. These efforts should include developing more stringent privacy controls and educating their customers on how to stay safe online.
  • Tech-savvy teachers are needed who not only know how to use the new and rapidly changing technology and also understand how to integrate it into their classrooms.
  • Empowered parents should be aware of what their children are doing online and have a basic understanding of the different modes of socialization online, including social networking sites, texting, video games, cell phones, etc. Parents should have a continuous conversation with their kids about what they are doing online and should establish household rules for the Internet.
  • Resilient kids play an especially important role in participating in a culture of responsibility online. They should learn how to make wise choices about the information they access and post online. They must take responsibility for their actions and show good judgment when their peers make mistakes by sexting, cyberbullying or passing along other inappropriate material.

FOSI has produced a Blueprint for Safe and Responsible Online Use.

Click here to download

A culture of responsibility calls for all the layers discussed above to work together to foster resiliency in our children. Children need help to make wise choices about the content they seek and post online; about whom they contact and who they allow to contact them; and how they conduct themselves on the Internet. Empowering and encouraging children to make better decisions so that their actions in the “online” world, are similar to their actions in the “offline” world – a distinction children don’t always make.

Additional resources

In June, 2010, Matt Levinson and Deb Socia published their essay, Moving Beyond One Size Fits All With Digital Citizenship, as part of the Behaviors and Online Safety track of the Youth and Media Policy Working Group at Harvard University's Berkman Center. The essay focuses on some of the challenges faced by educators when trying to address online safety and digital citizenship in the classroom. To read the essay go to http://publius.cc/moving_beyond_one_size_fits_all_digital_citizenship

 

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