Are you a good digital citizen?

My answer would be “kinda”.  I’ve been reading Digital Citizenship in Schools for my class and it has opened my eyes to all of the digital citizenship “laws” I have broke/forgotten over the last few years.

I remember in 8th grade Mrs. Smith talking about email and what a wonderful communication tool it was and would become.  Fast forward 20 years and now there are so many other tools we use that fall under the heading of digital communication that we forget how you should use these tools.   One of the nine elements of Digital Citizenship is Digital Etiquette–“the standards of conduct expected by other digital technology users” (from Digital Citizenship in Schools).  I am guilty of not using digital etiquette and I have witnessed others forgetting their digital etiquette skills too. I have answered a phone call while at my Thursday Night Knitting Group.  I have been known to continue to talk when it is my turn to pay in the grocery line.  What would Emily Post say?!

I do feel that people are improving their digital etiquette but it still remains a problem.  People holding up lines in stores because they are on the phone, talking loudly on the phone when they are with a group and the phone conversation does not involve the group, checking for messages during dinner, and texting during movies are all examples of inappropriate digital etiquette.  One example of inappropriate digital etiquette is checking or texting a message while someone is talking.  Where is your attention?  It’s not on the person talking.

Do we need digital etiquette police or can we police ourselves?


5 thoughts on “Are you a good digital citizen?

  1. I also struggle with digital etiquette because, as Ribble and Bailey (2007) point out in Digital Citizenship in Schools, behaviors that might be considered poor etiquette by older users may be viewed differently by younger generations. For example, my friends and I will text, check Facebook or our email, and look things up online when we are eating out together because we think that is okay. But, I would never do that with my grandparents. So it’s hard to draw the line. I don’t think there are clear black and white digital etiquette laws like Ribble and Bailey (2007) suggest. I’m wondering if views on digital etiquette will change as society changes and younger generations grow into adults who feel it is acceptable to talk on the phone while purchasing groceries. I have certain views of digital etiquette, but that doesn’t mean that younger generations will see those as rules. For instance, I enjoy using social networking for keeping in touch with friends. However, I don’t feel that it is necessary to post every detail of my day as a status report or to upload pictures of myself. Still, many young adults do engage in these activities and do not feel they are breaking any digital etiquette laws. A clip from an episode of the Dr. Phil show titled “Facebook Mistakes” (2008) illustrates the relationship between digital etiquette and Facebook. (This may work for the presentation, too!) Where will the lines be drawn?

  2. I could not agree with you more about policing ourselves to ensure we are being good citizens. When I was reading the book by Ribble and Bailey (2007) I am so careful about what I write when I am making notes to parents about students, when writing to administrators, or even family members. For some reason I forget that the things that I type are just as crucial as the things that I write in pen or pencil. Even though we are using a newer technology to communicate when we are texting, writing emails, tweeting, or blogging, it is easier to forget that we still need to watch what is said. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can be used to hold you accountable as a person.
    After watching the video you posted at the end of your blog I thought of all of the times that I needed the digital citizen police. I have texted as I drive, talked on the phone as I pay for my groceries and even checked my FB status while at work. I am sure the worst example is when I use my phone to text my mother or make a grocery list on my phone during a church sermon…. I am not proud; however, there are so many minutes in the day. I feel like one reason people have become back digital citizens is because with the advent of SMART phones no one is ever truly OFF of work. I think our working environment must change in order for the “overachievers” of the world to step away from their phones and hold some restraint when it comes to becoming respectable digital citizens.
    Do you think we should ask our classmates how they feel about the “no cell phones” policy that schools have put in place during our presentation?

  3. Wow….after reading your post I realize that I’m not a very good digital citizen. Come to think of it, lately I am more apt to jump at the sound of phone (telling me there’s a new text or email waiting for me). I am guilty of texting while someone else is talking to me, getting up from the dinner table, or even moving when I’m playing with my children. It’s like I’ve been conditioned to react to the beep of my phone. I have been trying to make an honest effort to ingore my phone when I’m engaged in other activities. It is a more difficult process than I had originally thought.

  4. The video really works well and made me laugh. It seems that a lot of “digital offenses” are committed with cell phones. Thinking about myself, I might have been a criminal of digital etiquette many many times, for example “borrowing” ideas, stories or anecdotes from sites and appearing before people as I had found out so much “truths”! This might be only one of the countless digital crimes I have committed which I totally have no idea of!

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