Steps to Becoming a Digital Citizen

Teenage girl lying on bed with pillows, stuffed panda, typing on laptop in a pink bedroom
Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/Kostudio

What is Digital Citizenship?

A digital citizen is one who uses information technology and the Internet both regularly and effectively. Such citizens are noted as engaging socially and politically. They have ever-present access to the internet through computers and mobile devices.

Today many become digital citizens from a very young age;
even young children have email addresses, social profiles,
and make purchases online.

Benefits of Digital Citizenship

Anonymity on the Internet has allowed promotion of equal economic opportunity, increased political participation, and civic duty. Hierarchy is reduced as race, religion, or class does not exclude those seeking digital citizenship. With the availability of information, digital citizens have the advantage of being made aware of services available to them.

Those who lack the opportunity to become a digital citizen miss out on some of the most basic e-conveniences such as the ability to file tax reports and register a birth. Though there are alternatives to these e-methods, many cultural and commercial entities are only publicizing information on the web.

Lack of information could lead to economic stagnation and even social isolation.

Men typing on cell phones

Digital Divide

The gap between Digital Citizens and non-digital citizens is growing. Though the subject is still up for debate, technological proficiency has been correlated with overcoming development issues and localized obstacles. (A mobile phone is especially powerful where landlines and infrastructure are weak.)

Become a Digital Citizen

On the information dissemination side of citizenship, a digital citizen has the options of both static and dynamic communication. Two-way or dynamic communication includes the acquisition of information. Deliberation allows a digital citizen to participate in online polls, bulletin boards, forums, and more.

In order to gain the most benefit from digital citizenry, one must attain a high level of reading comprehension. For example, government websites are often at an eleventh grade reading level, whereas many Americans read at an eighth grade level or lower.

Education greatly impacts a person’s capacity to participate
online and become a digital citizenship.

Today’s hiring managers will ask many of the following questions to deduce your level of digital citizenship:

  • Do you have a blog or website?
  • How much traffic does it get?
  • What social networking sites do you use?
  • How many followers do you have?
  • Name the top three people you follow online and why.
  • What is the most viral content you’ve personally created?

Are you willing and able to learn and consume large quantities of information very quickly? Are you a digital citizen? Please let us know in the comments below.

Written by
Terra L. Fletcher
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