Digital Citizenship is a concept that helps teachers, technology leaders, and parents to understand what students, children, and technology users should know to use technology responsibly.

It is more or less a preventive measure that helps tip the scales towards positive online interactions and brings Digital about appropriate, responsible behavior with technology.

Mike Ribble, widely acknowledged as the father of digital citizenship defined digital citizenship as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. He explains further:

When I wrote my first book, Digital Citizenship in Schools, with Gerald Bailey, we considered where this might lead on a bigger scale. The idea was to create a framework of defining elements that provide a structure for digital citizenship education on which everything else could hang. As a result, we identified nine key elements that help define how to best use technology in every school, home and community. They’re organized into three primary categories:


  • Digital access: Advocating for equal digital rights and access is where digital citizenship starts.
  • Digital etiquette: Rules and policies aren’t enough — we need to teach everyone about appropriate conduct online.
  • Digital law: It’s critical that users understand it’s a crime to steal or damage another’s digital work, identity or property.


  • Digital communication: With so many communication options available, users need to learn how to make appropriate decisions.
  • Digital literacy: We need to teach students how to learn in a digital society.
  • Digital commerce: As users make more purchases online, they must understand how to be effective consumers in a digital economy.


  • Digital rights and responsibilities: We must inform people of their basic digital rights to privacy, freedom of speech, etc.
  • Digital safety and security: Digital citizens need to know how to protect their information from outside forces that might cause harm.
  • Digital health and wellness: From physical issues, such as repetitive stress syndrome, to psychological issues, such as internet addiction, users should understand the health risks of technology.

These nine elements have been well-received over the years, and I am now looking to take them to the next level by creating a curriculum that can be embedded into the classroom at various levels.

You can read more about Dr. Ribble’s work here https://www.iste.org/docs/excerpts/DIGCI2-excerpt.pdf