Digital Citizenship


Let us consider our responsibilities as digital citizens, as individuals, and as mentors in our personal and professional lives. Whether you’re simply emailing a colleague, or posting comments on social media, downloading and using materials in your work, or even inviting your staff and/or students to work with collaborative tools, it’s always a good idea to be cognisant of what you are doing, how it appears to others, the law, and the importance of setting a good example.

‘A digital citizen refers to a person utilizing information technology (IT) in order to engage in society…’ K. Mossberger et al.

Mossberger, Karen, (2011). “Digital Citizenship – The Internet, Society and Participation” By Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Ramona S. McNeal.” 23 Nov. 2011. ISBN 978-0819456069

How to be a good digital citizen

It’s a good idea to have these in mind whether in contact with students, staff or in your personal life:

Who are you? – we should all be aware of how we ‘come across’ whether that is in terms of what you post about yourself, or how you speak to or about others. If the occasion arises, it may be useful to speak to your staff and students about how they want the world, their colleagues, peers and potential employees, to see them.

Passwords – having passwords that are easy to guess not only puts you at risk of handing over your bank details for example, but may also give the keys to nefarious agencies to access University systems. NEVER give you password to anyone no matter how convincingly/nicely they ask you.

Your information – keep your information private, and do not hand it out online. Information is ‘big bucks’ these days, and they will try to get it from you any way they can. Some Facebook users may be aware of questionnaires that claim to ascertain things like what kind of butterfly you are… (!?), or whether you and your partner have compatible star signs. They may appear to be just a bit of fun, but these questionnaires are entirely created to gather information about yourself. It will be saved, and used to build a picture of your habits.

Photographs and what you post/email – it is almost impossible to completely delete what you write or post online. Think about it. You may also be horrified/interested to know that if you have children with mobile phones, your name would be legally associated with anything that phone is used for. Educating children to be good digital citizens is interesting and essential, but we don’t have time for it here, though the topics of online cyber-bullying, sexting and revenge porn are sadly pertinent to all ages.

Copyright – be aware of copyright and your right to use, share, and teach with materials. You should demonstrate this awareness to your staff and students at all times. It’s a good idea to be able to answer rudimentary questions about copyright with your staff and students when asked. Have a look at the links on the ‘Copyright Licenses’ post.

Protect yourself – ensure you have up-to-date antivirus software on your machines – and make sure you take updates to software as they often have security fixes in them. Your staff and students should be aware of this. It’s not just your machine and information you’re protecting.


Choose one of the following links, and share something that you found interesting/useful/something you didn’t know/hilarious and post a comment about it in the comment section of this post – the link to comments should be at the side of the title of this post if you’re viewing this on the web, and at the bottom if you’re reading this on your email.. Feel free to do more than one.  You must post a comment in order to be eligible for a digital badge.

  • The Guardian has a good piece on deleting history on social media that is worth a read.
  • Google ‘Going Dark’ and find something interesting to comment on. (it’s more the FBI side of things rather than dying your hair links you need.)
  • What happens to your data when you take online questionnaires?
  • Have a look at this page. DO NOT enter any of your passwords into it. However, you may wish to have a play with different styles of passwords, e.g words and numbers symbols, lower and upper cases etc. It’s quite eye opening. Let us know what you had to do to make a password as secure as you can. P.S DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN PASSWORD IN THERE.

141 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship

  1. Clare February 8, 2017 / 8:48 am

    13 thousand years to crack one of the passwords I put in – only trouble is I can’t remember what I typed! But interesting to know that a similar password to the one I use would only take 1 hour.


  2. Philip Howlett February 8, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I’ve never been one to take part in the Facebook quizzes, but the website for the passwords was fascinating. Spent far too long playing with variations on a theme! Quite an eye opener!


  3. Luke February 8, 2017 / 9:22 am

    I am quite aware of this already and use the service to keep lots of very complicated, random passwords in for websites. I’m also very aware that the internet is a public space!


  4. nadia khan February 8, 2017 / 10:04 am

    I’ve learnt of alternative search engines to Google- or


  5. Natalie February 8, 2017 / 10:10 am

    I am always aware of what I post online. My Facebook is private and I only use Tumblr for silly things and never post anything personal in there. I am aware of how these questionnaires collect your data and it is quite scary it does annoy me when ads pop up showing results of what I might be interested in buying if I was googling a topic! One password I entered would take 4 weeks to crack and the other 34 thousand years!


  6. Kari Morley February 8, 2017 / 11:38 am

    I managed to find a password that would take 36 quintillion years for a computer to crack by combining my old car number plates with various random characters. I never knew “quintillion” was a word until today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kirstie Smith February 8, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    I’ve always been wary of things on Facebook asking you to give them permission to use your data, but didn’t realise it was this bad. If you install one of the quiz apps, it can keep running in the background and continually collect more data about you.


  8. Sara Donner-Langstone February 8, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    it is very important to think, more than once, before posting a picture on line or in Facebook.


  9. Donya Hajializadeh February 8, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    It is quite interesting to know that even adding a single dash line after each character in the password could take a computer 204 million years to crack the password while without is only 34 seconds.


  10. Helen Keyes February 8, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    As a Psychologist, it strikes me that it would be interesting to present students with this type of “online quiz” information, in order to better inform their own ethical practice in the handling of data.


  11. Diane February 8, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    “We call it “Going Dark,” and what it means is this: Those charged with protecting our people aren’t always able to access the evidence we need to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism even with lawful authority. We have the legal authority to intercept and access communications and information pursuant to court order, but we often lack the technical ability to do so.”
    Not particularly reassuring.


  12. Sarah Johnson February 9, 2017 / 8:50 am

    Very interesting! so “going dark” is like going off the grid?


  13. Sarah Johnson February 9, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Wow it would take forever to remember my passwords but I’ve got it down to the computer taking 41 years!


  14. Sarah Allen February 9, 2017 / 9:12 am

    I was surprised by the Guardians complete “delete your digital footprint” approach, although it did give some good general advice (think about what you are putting up before it gets to the point of deleting it). I think in most cases people would rather remove parts of their digital history instead of the entirety,

    In the BBC article about what happens with your data when you do a quiz, it occurred to me that I am pretty good with my privacy settings/ tagging and timeline reviewing and luckily are not interested in facebook quizzes. I did not appreciate how much data that could be gathered this way, especially if it allows access to the personal information about your facebook account.


  15. Natalie Willis February 9, 2017 / 9:59 am

    Apparently it would take 10million years to crack: Password123456


  16. Alexa Ashwick February 9, 2017 / 11:05 am

    The BBC article is really interesting, I think most people are already wary of “suspicious-looking” pop-ups or app requests but a seemingly innocuous quiz or game shared on Facebook by a friend you know and trust is more likely to convince you to accept the request to share personal data.


  17. Jane Hay February 9, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I searched on Going Dark with quite a few interesting articles, some of which I’ve researched previously in relation to backdoor access by governments to technology, spying, industrial espionage etc. All very interesting.


  18. Tanya McFerran February 9, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    I think the comments about how to protect yourself online are timely and should encourage responsible use….but that is for informed adults. It is the younger people who are playing around and get themselves into ‘difficult situations’.


  19. Nicola February 9, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    Off to make sure my passwords won’t be cracked for 115 octillion years…! Really interesting to see how some simple changes can make a really effective password (not actually going to make them as long as 115 octillion years though!)


  20. Dai Tohzumi February 11, 2017 / 9:20 am

    Very interesting – the darker side of the modern digital society!


  21. Laura February 13, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    The password exercise was very interesting, just need to remember what you type in!!


  22. Sarah February 14, 2017 / 9:47 am

    All so interesting. I will be improving the security of my own passwords and educating others to do the same. Very eye opening!


  23. janeshelley February 14, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Interesting reminder about keeping your data private. Naturally wary but do use facebook to keep in touch with friends and relatives at a distance. Certainly won’t be clicking on any quiz apps not that I’ve got time for them anyway!


  24. Rachael Herne February 14, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Interesting article about data sharing and online quiz apps


  25. Patrick Selby February 21, 2017 / 9:13 am

    I read the Guardian post hoping to find a method of deleting data I hadn’t seen before, ended up finding the internet’s archive, an eerily vast library of materials and media.


  26. Nicole February 23, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Interesting reading about deleting your history on social media – it would take a hugeeee amount of time and effort! Phew!


  27. Maxine Hall February 24, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    The only Google images of myself were on Linked-in and Twitter, and I’m careful about my security settings on Facebook – always worth checking after an automatic update though!


  28. Que Mirza February 27, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Interesting to know about various other search engines as we are so reliant on Google.


  29. Rebecca Lee March 5, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    From reading the article about Facebook quizzes I learnt that apps associated with Facebook continually run in the background, potentially collecting data, until manually deleted. I am already careful with the way I use social media but it gets you thinking about the potential risks associated with other apps too. I also had a look at the ‘How to delete your digital life’ article and was interested to learn about alternative search engines that don’t track your search history, as Google does.


  30. edgar March 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    The articles confirmed me that I should avoid Facebook Quiz!


  31. Hannah Stageman March 10, 2017 / 11:57 am

    I knew about the internet archive, but wasn’t aware you could request your name to be removed. As an artist where is the line between what you should and shouldn’t share for publicity?


  32. Jessica March 10, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Created various passwords, it’s interesting to see how long they would take for a computer to crack, also funny how quickly people forget their password


  33. maria March 13, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    I had no idea that Facebook quiz apps continue running in the background unless users actively delete them via their privacy settings, or that they can potentially collect Facebook data long after users have forgotten the quiz they agreed to take part in.


  34. Sarah Packard March 31, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Looked at how secure different passwords are. The second one I tried said it would take two months to crack. Tried another which I thought was along the same lines and it said that would only take 2 seconds! Unfortunately, I can’t now remember what the good one was! So tricky as a human to guess whether they are easy or difficult for a computer to crack! Quite an addictive site though! I’ve now made up one that would take 97 years to break – and I think it’s quite straight forward and easy to remember!


  35. Neema Trivedi-Bateman April 4, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    I thought it would be difficult to delete my digital life, but I had never thought of the vast steps required and the tedious nature of them. Interesting Guardian article!


  36. Nermin Minter April 10, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    The article on ‘Deleting history on social media’ once again reminded me of the dangers of sharing personal information online. Regarding the online quizzes, I agree with security expert Lisa Vaas. Just to have a little bit of fun it is not worth doing the online quizzes if you have to hand over the keys to your privacy.

    Also, I tried entering different styles of passwords on ‘How Secure Is My Password?’ box and found out that it would take a computer longer to crack the password when symbols are used with the letters and numbers.


  37. Matt McConkey May 23, 2017 / 10:58 am – allows you to search and see if your personal information (i.e. potentially but rarely passwords, but also all the other information that you should be careful of sharing freely in case of identity theft) has been lost by a company you have an account with.

    It’s also worth noting that there are companies called data brokers who harvest this information and sell it on to e.g. advertisers. Unfortunately they are not strongly regulated, so you will find it hard to get them to remove your information if you were to try.

    There’s an interesting book about this in the library – a journalist and mum attempting to improve her online privacy without having too much negative effects on her day-to-day life:


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