Elementary Digital Citizenship Education

Digital Citizenship Prezi

 Preparing students for their global community.

 Students as young as Kindergarten can learn about digital citizenship.  It is essential for schools to teach elementary students how to be positive and productive digital citizens.  In my Prezi, I discuss resources available for elementary teachers to help prepare students for their digital community.

In schools character education has been very important for many years. Starting in prekindergarten students are taught how to get along and interact socially. For many years teachers have been modeling and teaching their students how to be good citizens. With more and more emphasis on technology now it is important to teach students how to be good citizens not only in the real world but also in the digital world. Students need to have the skills to understand appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology.

According to Ribble (2011), the digital world is changing how people interact with each other. Educators must prepare students to interact in a world with out boundaries. Skills that are important now, and will continue to grow in importance as students are introduced to technology at increasingly younger ages, are the following: posting a well written blog, sharing pictures, keeping personal information safe, and understanding that what is shared online is viewable by all. Educators need to teach digital citizenship in their classroom for these reasons and many more. Helping students manage these issues should be part of any digital citizenship program.

Digital citizenship education needs to start at a young age and build upon each grade level, with increasing importance placed on being a positive and productive digital citizen. Common Sense Media has developed a helpful scope and sequence for K-8 schools to use as their digital citizenship curriculum. Common Sense digital citizenship topics include: Internet safety, digital footprint, privacy and security, identity, relationship and communication, information literacy, copyright, and cyberbulling. Many of the lessons come with a corresponding video to reinforce skills. The videos usually come from a child’s perspective and include a student explaining a digital scenario or problem. All their lessons can be downloaded with necessary materials and parent letters.

Common Sense Media also provides an online interactive component for students through their Digital Passport program. Teachers can sign up for an account and enter their students into the program. Digital Passport takes students through a series of digital citizenship topics. At the beginning of each topic students are shown a brief video, and then play a game based on the topic. The passport topics include: communication, privacy, and plagiarism. Recently Common Sense Media developed iBooks that correlate with their curriculum as another way to reinforce skills their material address. All of Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship resources are free for educators. Common Sense offers many different resources for educators to choose from, so they can decide what would work best for their students or their teaching style.

Another way administrators and educators can implement an effective digital citizenship curriculum is by using Mike Ribble’s (2011) book Digital Citizenship in Schools. In the book he outlines 9 elements that can be followed to help create a digital citizenship curriculum. The 9 elements from the book are access, commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, law, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and security. Ribble describes (2011), the 9 elements that can serve as a basis for appropriate technology use as a starting point for schools to educate their students on understanding appropriate technology use. Ribble also writes about Respect, Educate, and Protect (REPs). He encourages teachers to use REPs as a framework for the 9 elements and to teach digital citizenship starting in Kindergarten (Ribble, 2011).

Regardless of what grade levels, students can and should learn to be positive and productive digital citizens. With more technology being used at home and in classrooms, students will need the skills to navigate through their digital community and they will look to their parents and teachers for these skills. As stated by Hertz (2011), it is important that we treat online safety and digital citizenship with the same amount of seriousness and attention as we do to our offline citizenship.


Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Retrieved April 19, 2014 from



Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Digital passport by common sense media.

Retrieved April 19, 2014 from https://www.digitalpassport.org/educator-registration


Hertz, M. (2011, October 12). Teaching digital citizenship in the elementary classroom. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-mary-beth-hertz


Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, OR: ISTE.