Digital Citizenship

The concept of citizenship, which started to be used for the first time in the Greek states, took its current form with the French Revolution. It is possible to define the concept of citizenship as an individual who fulfills his duties in the society, is compatible with the society and keeps up with the times. Digital citizenship is; It has emerged as a new term in our age where technology is advancing rapidly and many transactions are made through digital channels.

Digital citizenship actually emerges as a form of citizenship that has continued from the past to the present. Individuals who use technology and mass media correctly in order to obtain information are called “Digital Citizens” Mossberger refers to individuals who use the Internet regularly and participate in society through online means as digital citizens; Farmer, on the other hand, called digital citizens to individuals who easily access information via the Internet, use digital media effectively, and exhibit what is expected of them in daily life in digital media.

Ohler states that digital citizenship education should be given just as citizenship education has been given in schools for many years. Because the rate of using technology negatively both in educational environments and outside is increasing day by day. Social media, the use of which has increased rapidly in recent years, has also caused changes in the concept of digital citizenship. The concepts of using social media effectively and correctly were added to the definition made by Farmer.

Especially in recent years, when the age of use of social media has decreased rapidly, students’ unawareness about digital citizenship brings with it possible threats. According to Farmer (2014), training given to students on using technology correctly will help them become digital citizens. In order to provide digital citizenship awareness training, it is necessary to organize educational environments and raise awareness of teachers who appeal to many segments of society. For this, necessary studies should be carried out by measuring the digital awareness levels of teacher candidates in education faculties before they start working.

Kaya and Kaya’s study to measure pre-service teachers’ perceptions of digital citizenship also shows that; Pre-service teachers do not fully know the concept of digital citizenship, and while defining this concept, they make inferences based on the definition of the concepts of “digital” and “citizen”.

In the book published by Ribble and Mike; emphasized the necessity of using technology in the best way in order to be a good digital citizen. It was emphasized that the concept of digital citizenship is important not only for children but also for everyone, and it was mentioned that training should be given at an early age in order to spread it to the general public. In this way, it is emphasized that inappropriate technological behaviors can be noticed wherever they are.

It is also mentioned that individuals who are digital citizens will help others to use technology positively and correctly. They emphasized that the awareness created will make everyone a better digital citizen and create individuals who enjoy using technology. By dividing digital citizenship into nine dimensions, they stated that understanding these dimensions is very important in understanding and gaining the concept of digital citizenship. These nine dimensions are;

1.Digital Security: In this dimension, the questions of whether necessary precautions are taken for the protection of data in electronic environment and whether it takes the necessary time to protect the information are emphasized. According to Klimburg, the concept of cyber security is the measures taken to protect digital environments, internet and servers. As can be seen from the definition, these two terms are used interchangeably. With the shift of information to digital environments, the security measures taken have also tended in this direction. One of the conditions of being a good digital citizen is to be aware of the changing, loss and theft of information in cyber environments.

2.Digital Access: This is about ensuring participation in society. In other words, it is a concept related to whether the required level of participation in the digital society can be achieved if desired. Kırık, Bölükbaş and Cengiz digital access; He stated that digital citizenship is a requirement and emphasized that every citizen should have access to technology and disseminate it. According to Çubukçu, a digital citizen can access various harmful environments and be harmed by these environments. Therefore, one of the rules of being a good digital citizen is to access accurate and reliable information from virtual environments.

3.Digital Commerce: It is about whether users have enough information about secure e-commerce and shopping. In recent years, the shift of shopping to virtual environments has also expanded the dimensions of digital citizenship. It is known that there are approximately 1.61 billion e-commerce users worldwide. The knowledge of these users about digital commerce also affects their digital citizenship levels. Therefore, digital commerce is one of the steps of being a good digital citizen. A good digital citizen; It should not create any security weakness while using digital banking and trading through digital media.

4.Digital Communication: It is expected that due care should be taken in the correct use of mass media in this dimension, which is related to electronic information exchange. Different communication channels that have developed in recent years have also affected communication methods and types. The emergence of new media technologies has enabled people to be directly involved in the communication process. This has caused radical changes from the communication process and has turned into a structure where the target conveys information to the source.

The fact that personal information is shared in public environments such as social media has brought along various security violations. It is also seen that the people on the other side hide their true identity in communications established in such environments. It is possible to say that the digital communication dimension has increased its importance, especially as the number of users in public communication environments such as social media is increasing rapidly.

5.Digital Literacy: It is the learning and teaching process related to the use of technology. It is about the time people spend on technology use and sharing their information with others. In addition, digital literacy includes not only the ability of the individual to use technology well, but also his cognitive, affective, motor, sociological and psychological states. It is seen that children born in recent years are introduced to digital tools before starting their normal school writing life. The fact that individuals meet such environments at a very early age makes them much more vulnerable. In order to minimize these risks, it is necessary to pay attention to the digital literacy dimension.

6.Digital Ethics: It is about technology users considering the rights of others and not violating rights while using electronic media. Çakmak digital ethics; defined it as avoiding behaviors that other users would not like while using digital media. The concept of digital ethics; It is founded on universal philosophical principles, as in the concept of ethics. It rejects the philosophy that every path to a conclusion is correct. Some behaviors that violate digital ethics by Ocak;

  • Spreading false information
  • Unauthorized obtaining of personal data
  • Cyberbullying behaviors
  • Violations of privacy
  • Copyright violations
  • It is listed as plagiarism.

It is seen that the way to be a good digital citizen also passes through the digital ethics dimension. The concept of digital ethics does not only include behaviors that people should avoid. In addition to this, it also includes positive behaviors that should be carried out of his own will.

7.Digital Law: It is about the electronic responsibility of what is done in digital environments. The focus is on making the user aware of the rules that must be followed while using technology. Sometimes it is seen that individuals have difficulty in complying with the rules in digital environments that they do not have difficulty in complying with in real life. One of the qualities sought in a good digital citizen is to know that their behavior, which is criminal in real life, is a crime in digital environments.

8.Digital Rights and Responsibilities: It is the concept of whether people are aware of their rights in the use of digital media. The individual should know that he is responsible for a content or behavior he shares in the digital environment. He should know how to use his right to complain when he is violated. A good digital citizen should know which behavior is a crime and should be aware of the consequences. When using digital media, it should correctly determine the area and limits of freedom. He should be aware of his responsibilities towards other individuals and should make an effort to fulfill these responsibilities.

9.Digital Health: It seeks an answer to the question of whether physical and psychological risks are taken into account during the use of digital media. One of the most important problems in the use of digital media is physical and mental problems. Experienced as a result of unconscious technology use; It is possible for me to encounter physical problems such as eye disorder, posture disorders, muscle pains due to ergonomic sitting, and joint pains. In addition, it is possible to encounter mental problems such as technology addiction, violence and stress. In addition, some diseases called new generation diseases, on the basis of which the unconscious use of the Internet is based, are included in the scope of digital health.

All these dimensions combine to form digital citizenship itself. These cannot be considered independently of each other and negatively affects the concept of digital citizenship experienced in one of them.

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