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.