Digital Citizenship #diglitclass

I just read/watched an enormous amount of information on digital citizenship.  After going through everything, I realized that I already knew what digital citizenship was, I just didn’t know the official name of it.  According to digitalcitizenship.net, digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use.  This can include anything from security and privacy to cyberbullying and trolling.

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Photo CC-By Sean MacEntee

The topic that both interests an concerns me the most is cyberbullying.  I know that there are courses out there in our schools that are teaching students about digital citizenship, but I really think there needs to be a stronger emphasis made on cyberbullying.  One of the articles I found to have some of the most interesting statistics was called 7 Ways to Prevent Cyberbullying.  This article covers a lot of ways to prevent and/or deal with  cyberbullying if it is already happening.  There are two statistics from this article that stuck out in particular to me:

  1. 45% of children admit they have experienced bullying online.  Let that sink in for a second.  That means that almost half of students have encountered this form of harassment.  That is just an amazing, and sad, statistic to me.
  2. 70% [of students] admit they have witnessed cyberbullying.  Even if they aren’t being directly affected by it, most students are still seeing it.

One thing that really bothers me about cyberbullying is how do we, as adults and educators, not see this happening before it is too late?  One of the most well-known cyberbullying cases was that of Amanda Todd.  She made a mistake with her digital citizenship, and people came after her for it.  In no way do I blame her for what happened.  I just want to emphasize how important it is to be cognizant of what you are putting out there on the web.  No matter how many times you hit “Delete” you can never fully erase it from the internet.

However, the thing that bothers me the most is why is cyberbullying even happening to begin with?  I’m sure that this could be used in regards to some cyberbullies as well, but according to the New York Times article Dealing With Digital Cruelty, some researchers believe that trolls could actually be mentally unstable.  Is this the case with cyberbullies, or are they just kids being kids?  That is something that I would like to know the answers to.  Only then will we truly be able to prevent cyberbullying.

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