There are a plethora of definitions outlining digital citizenship, but here I will use two specific ones to outline my own definition. In a post titled Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship it is defined as the continuously developing norms of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use (Ribble, Bailey, & Ross, 2004). More simply stated in a post titled Infusing Digital Citizenship into Higher Education, it is defined as responsible technology use (Ahlquist, 2014). Pulling from these definitions I would define digital citizenship as our responsibility to adhere to respectful practices whilst using internet capabilities to share, learn, and communicate with the other citizens.
Digital literacy is an element of the more broad umbrella of digital citizenship. Specifically, digital literacy is the fluency in the use and security of interactive digital tools and searchable networks (Deye, 2017). Digital citizenship is not totally unlike literacy, as it includes literacy, but is a much broader term and includes many other elements. The thesis of digital citizenship is the idea that all the power within digital information and networks, lies a lot of responsibilities. We must harness this power to protect, respect, and educate ourselves and others.
Digital citizenship is being introduced more and more into the classroom. Educators are able to discuss the importance of being respectful online, what happens when information goes online, creating a positive digital footprint, and ethical uses for information used online – among other things (Hays, 2019). Aside from classrooms, we need to investigate how digital citizenship can be fostered for adult learners. Other than learning directly from someone with a greater knowledge in the subject – the best way to learn about digital citizenship is to get online and passively participate in different groups and on different mediums until you’ve learned the proper do’s and don’ts, all of which revolve around proper respect, protection, and education online.