Digital Citizenship Teaching Guide

Published On: May 2nd, 2016·By ·

Teaching Digital Citizenship? Then check out this Digital Citizenship Teaching Guide.

I found a great Digital Citizenship Teaching Guide on Twitter, so I wanted to share it with all of you. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Digital Citizenship is a huge topic, so it's hard to pinpoint what exactly you should teach your students. Thankfully, Edutopia boiled Digital Citizenship down to 9 essential topics in a Digital Citizenship Teaching Guide infographic that they shared on their Twitter account. The guide is created from an article posted on their website by teacher Vicki Davis. You can read that article here.

digital citizenship teaching guide

The 9 different topics listed on the infographic above are passwords, privacy, personal information, photography, property, permissions, protection, professionalism, and permanence. If you could sum up digital citizenship in 9 words (I suppose 10 actually, given that personal information is two words), those just might be it.

You can break these 9 topics into three different categories: safety, copyright laws, and personal conduct.

Safety is the largest topic that includes passwords, privacy, personal info, and protection. To teach your students to be as safe as they can be online, you should cover what makes a secure password and what doesn't, how they can protect information they don't want others to know, what kind of information can tell people more than you want to, and how computer viruses and other nasty drawbacks of the internet work and how to avoid them.

Next you need to teach students what is okay and what isn't okay to use in the digital world. It's too easy to steal images and text online, but that doesn't mean it isn't stealing. Teaching students about copyright laws and Creative Commons laws will let them know what they can and can't use. Likewise, they should know about the different levels of usability permissions available, where to find that information, how to ask for permission to use something, and how to cite the work they use.

Social conduct is the last category, but not any less important than the other groups. Students need to behave in a professional manner online and learn online etiquette. This will help if you remind them that everything they post online is permanent, so they should create something worth sharing. Another aspect you'll want to warn them about is photography, specifically images of yourself. You should teach them how to remove and add tags to pictures and to keep a look out for things others post to see if you want them to take it down or not.

If you cover all 9 of these topics, then you're on your way to creating responsible digital citizens.

What topics would you add to your Digital Citizenship Teaching Guide? What are some of the biggest challenges teachers face when teaching digital citizenship?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to

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