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5 Responsibilities that Come with Digital Citizenship

By The Editorial Team

The term “digital citizenship” has become the new catch phrase for identifying digital rights and responsibilities.

The focus of digital citizenship is how Internet users should manage online relationships, provide personal protection from online attacks and show accountability for posted online viewpoints and opinions.

Numerous other elements also fall under the umbrella of good digital citizenship. They include the process of combining government regulations, peer pressure, business regulators, moral police and personal codes into a working system of reasonable Internet behavior.

5 Personal Responsibilities of Digital Citizenship

Basic acceptable use policies define technology responsibility for users when on an organization’s property, but what happens when the user, the property and the associated equipment has no connections with an organization, school, agency or other group entity? Does this mean that personal responsibility for reasonable and acceptable Internet behavior becomes null and void?


Everyone has a right to use modern technology in a manner that fits their reasonable best interests. But the keyword is “reasonable.” Every Internet user has a personal accountability for how he or she applies technology to digital relationships, activities and personal goals.

What is at the core of digital citizenship? The following are five of the personal responsibilities that is associated with becoming a productive digital citizen:

1. Cyberbullying

The Internet provides an immense playground for social networking and social interaction. In many cases, proper supervision is nonexistent. Although most social sites do establish specific Terms of Use Agreements designed to prevent cyberbullying, predator activities, identify theft and all of the associated trappings, it is the users who must ultimately take care of policing the communications. You make the voice. You create the content. You are responsible for how you interact with other digital users. And you are responsible for protecting yourself against abusive relationships.

2. Internet safety

At times, the emotional and mental aspects of Internet communications spills over into the physical realm. Barter sites deal with local sales events. Adventure resources sometimes involve physical meetings for group activities. Almost every social site provides an abundance of opportunities for predators of every age and type. Sensibility must guide your digital relationships.

Personal safety should always remain foremost in your mind. Many Digital Citizens believe that Internet safety is all about children, cyber-bullying and sexual predators. But the issue spans a much broader gap. Resources made available by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service document a host of cyber crimes, cyber threats and youth related risks.


Internet communication involves various keyboard shortcuts, but at times the shortcuts hamper reasonable understanding and professional appearance. For example, typing in all caps is frowned upon as “SHOUTING.” As a model digital citizen, you are responsible for learning the Internet lingo and the times and places when that lingo should be applied.

Reporting Offenders

Safety is always important. Should you notice improper activities going on at your neighbor’s home, would you ignore the issue? If you witnessed a bully threatening another child, would you remain silent and neutral? A component of responsible Digital Citizenship demands that you respond to digital offenders in a manner that can end the offenses. This doesn’t entail a violent exchange of instant-messaging. It merely requires that you report the offender to the website management or, if necessary, to the proper legal authorities.

Digital Law

Learning to protect yourself goes far deeper than the visual aspects of digital communications. You must also learn the laws that govern Internet activities. For example:

  • Do you know and understand digital copyright procedures?
  • Are you familiar with websites that involve software pirating?
  • How can you prevent someone from stealing your identity?
  • How do you identify Internet scams?
  • Can you prevent hackers from invading your system?

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