Digital Citizenship

Manaal Dahir
3 min readApr 27, 2021


The way I would explain the definition of digital citizenship, I would explain it as being responsible for our actions using digital tools and our interactions with others online. As technology has become more and more accessible to all ages and people, it is very important that we do practice appropriate usage of digital tools. According to Digital Citizenship, digital citizenship is defined as “the continuously developing norms of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use,” (Ribble, Bailey, Ross, 2004). Another definition of digital citizenship defined by Sunny Deye’s Promoting Digital Literacy and Citizenship in School, “Digital citizenship is defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior when using technology,” (Deye, 2017).

Digital citizenship and digital literacy are very similar, yet there are differences as well. To my understanding, digital literacy is the skill you have to access information through digital technologies and later use that information to communicate to others using different social platforms. Digital citizenship is a bigger concept that includes digital literacy. Like how I defined it earlier, it is something you have a choice to be. Being a responsible person on the internet and when using digital technologies is something that can be taught, but will ultimately come down to whether or not a person will actively participate in engaging in positive actions. That is why it is important that when young students are even brought into the world of technology, being a digital citizen is equally as important. A reading from this week that supports my statement comes from “New ‘digital citizenship’ curriculum helps students become responsible tech users”, it discusses how, “a strong understanding of digital citizenship is essential for students of all ages…technology is constantly changing and becomes outdated quickly, so there are always new and important skills that must be taught,” (Ottesen, 2018). It is important that everyone is always up to date on how to actively be a good citizen.

An article that does a great job of explaining how we as users can strengthen our own digital citizenship. Eileen Belastock’s “Six ways to strengthen digital citizenship this summer,” uses an acronym technique called “SUMMER”:

  1. Stay positive and be kind whenever possible
  2. Understand possible safety issues
  3. Monitor your “plugged-in” time
  4. Mention unsafe situations to an adult
  5. Engage in creating vs. consuming
  6. Respect the privacy of others

Yes the internet has its fair share of hate comments, but this is a great way to keep track of your own use and engagement. It is a great way to remind other individuals to create a safe space and environment for others and themselves.



Manaal Dahir

Third year student at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities