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Citizenship in a Digital World

As educators, it is essential to teach the students the ethics, etiquette, and "rules of the road" of digital citizenship, but we also must model the same behaviors we expect from our students. To teach the standard, we must know and understand the standards set forth by the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) while also recognizing that we need curricula to teach learners the responsibilities of being digital citizens.

ISTE has standards that teachers must adhere to when teaching digital citizenship. For example, Crompton (2014) outlines the ISTE Standard 4 of digital citizenship as "Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility while understanding local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving culture" (ISTE, 2014).

Gleason and von Gillern (2018) emphasize the need for digital citizenship built within the curricula with real-world experience in a digital society (p. 200). Understanding the positives and negatives of being a digital citizen is imperative in today's social climate. From identifying predatory behavior in the dark interwebs to cyberbullying in school, the responsibility of understanding how our digital footprint affects the physical world around us not only falls on our teachers but our students along with their parental guardians as well.

Proverbs 6: 2-3 (ESV) states, "if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor." As Christ-followers, we are frequently caught up in words we put out on social media for the world to see. When we realize what we say or do is wrong, we must also teach our students that it is better to admit, apologize, and learn to forgive yourself for your actions while learning to do better going forward.

Forgiveness is a critical component of social responsibility in a digital world. Ephesians 1: 7-8 (ESV) states, "In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight." We have to learn to forgive as Christ's sacrifice laid the foundation of forgiveness and grace for the world's sinners. This reflection is a harsh lesson to learn, but it is a needed lesson.


English Standard Bible. (2001).

Gleason, B., & von Gillern, S. (2018). Digital citizenship with social media: Participatory practices of teaching and learning in secondary education.Educational Technology & Society, 21(1), 200-212.

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