What Does it Mean to be a Digital Citizen?

Do you:

  • Visit the App Store or Google Play to download apps?
  • Use social media? (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc)
  • Use Spaces?
  • Submit assignments via Canvas?
  • Play online games?
  • Send text messages?
  • Use Google to find information?

If you answered YES to any of these, then you are a digital citizen.

My name is Lily Young, and my role at Newington College as Learning and Teaching Librarian allows for collaboration between the Deputy Head of Stanmore (Student Services) Mr Bob Meakin, as well as the Heads of House team to create a digital citizenship program which has been introduced within the years 8 to 10 Mentor program at the College.

2015 Mentor Program

Why is this important?

The fact is, students are spending more and more time in an online environment for both personal and academic reasons. Due to this,  it is imperative that they develop a digital compass, or key set of understandings to navigate its complexities. It is only fitting then, that schools take ownership of implementing a set of guiding principles into the curriculum that provide teaching and learning resources on the topic of digital citizenship.

The integration of a digital citizenship program allows Mentor staff to facilitate a student’s growth in gaining transferable digital citizenship skills in order for them to thrive online. In doing so, students are empowered to become enlightened and ethical navigators of their digital lives, and are well prepared for the rigors of adulthood in the 21st century.


A variety of interactive sessions are being held by Mentor staff, where students may be asked to use their devices, engage in a viewing or reflecting activity, and engage in discussions relating to the theme of digital citizenship.

Overall, activities for each year group consisted of the following outcomes:


  • Identify what personal information should be kept private and discuss the suitability for public and private profiles
  • Identify what good digital citizenship practices are
  • Explain how one’s digital footprint can impact him/her in the future
  • Discuss strategies when using online platforms to ensure students are conscious of what personal information is publicly available, which may provide an opportunity for online bullying.


  • Identify what digital tools are, and the role it plays in their lives
  • Learn basic situations about the current digital landscape
  • Reflect on the positive and negative impacts of digital tools, and how they affect themselves
  • Discuss addiction in relation to technology and strategies such as ‘screen time’.

Activity Bubble Year 10: SEXTING

  • Explore the role of digital technologies in romantic relationships
  • Analyse risky forms of self-disclosure and their possible consequences
  • Identify strategies for avoiding sexting while enhancing romantic relationships

Share The Discussion

Sounds great, when are these lessons going ahead? Right now! It was officially introduced in Term 2, however ideally, we can continue the conversation outside of Mentor classes and encourage all staff to have these discussions with their students. Students, get your parents involved! We encourage a school community based approach.

How do I find out more?  Mrs Young welcomes feedback and encourages all staff and students to get in touch. Parents are also encouraged to chat to their son’s Mentor teacher, or Mr Meakin in regards to any questions or concerns about the content being introduced.

In 2016, our aim is to continue to host these themed sessions in Mentor groups and create a scope and sequence of digital citizenship practice, to embed across all areas of school life. The library aims to continue to develop and implement an effective digital citizenship strategy across the curriculum, which encompasses the grounding of the following ‘Six Tenets of Citizenship‘:

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Protect yourself
  3. Respect others
  4. Protect others
  5. Respect intellectual property
  6. Protect intellectual property.

Our students’ real world is the online world; as educators, we are encouraged to facilitate this, to be involved in the development and implementation of various strategies, programs, events and activities to support students and their technology use across the curriculum, and to develop in students and staff a love of learning and habits of lifelong learning.

Questions? Comments? Please use the form below.

[contact-form to=’lyoung@newington.nsw.edu.au’ subject=’Re: What Does It Mean To Be a Digital Citizen?’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’What%26#039;s your Twitter handle?’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Year 8 Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on work at www.ciconline.org.

Year 9 Creative Commons
Creative Commons License
Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/digital-life-102.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://au.professionals.reachout.com/internet-addiction.

Year 10 Creative Commons

Creative Commons License

Digital Citizenship Program at Newington College by Mrs Lily Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at http://www.lawstuff.org.au/nsw_law/topics/Sexting#sthash.uqbB6ZSe.dpuf



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