Digital Citizenship

The Digital Body

As we have a physical body that goes to classes, plays sports, and socializes, so too do we have a digital body. It's hard to conceptualize because you can't touch it, but it's out there nevertheless. And it's made up of every piece of information you put out onto the web, including:

The websites you've looked at
The videos you've watched
The purchases you've made online
The photos you've posted
The songs and apps you've downloaded
The emails and tweets, status updates, blog posts, and comments you've sent
and more!

Seen by Anyone

Of course we know information on the web is public, and can be seen by anyone. But again this is hard to imagine. Just who is this anyone?

Your friends
Your parents
Your enemies
Your teachers
Your boyfriends and girlfriends, past and in the future
Your future employers
The admissions office of the college you may someday want to go to

Using the Digital World to Your Advantage

People will talk a lot about the scary things that can happen when your information falls into the wrong hands - and this is all true, and should be considered. But the other side of the coin is that you have control over your digital body, and can use it to your advantage, to set yourself up for the things you want in life.

Consider two students: one who is careless with their digital body, and doesn't think about what they share online. All their goofy messages to their friends, their embarrassing photos, and their thoughtless gossip will be preserved for all posterity.

The other student is careful and considerate, crafting their digital body to represent their best self. They pass on posting embarrassing photos and instead share the ones from the basketball game where they won the championship. They share photos and blog posts from their family trip abroad.   They us Facebook and other social networks to promote their sports team, their band, their art show.  And they make other creative and educational websites.

A few years pass, and an exclusive high school can't decide which of these two students to choose for admission. They decide to Google and see what comes up. Which student do you think they will choose?


Here are a few guidelines to consider whenever you are about to send or post something online:

Would I say this as an announcement at a school assembly?
Will this help me or hurt me in the future?
Do I want my mom to see this?


Select two or three of these topics and write an essay on digital citizenship.  You will be sharing this essay with other students.  The essay should be 100-200 words long.  We will type the essay in Quickoffice.  Use all proper spelling, punctuation and paragraphization.  

In what ways can digital media make relationships stronger?

In what ways can digital media ruin a relationship?

How do you feel about people knowing your identity online?

What misconceptions do parents have about digital media?

Why is it easier to experiment online?

Who are some people who could find information about you on the web? Would you be embarrassed if they saw what you've put out there already?

Is any online activity truly private? If so, what?

What are some bad things that could happen if you send someone a funny or sexy picture of yourself?

What are some bad things that could happen if you send or post a rude or gossipy comment?

What does it mean to be a good digital citizen?  (Give examples)

What does it mean to be a bad digital citizen?  (Give examples)

How is digital citizenship different from regular citizenship?