Sunday, February 3, 2019

Technology and Digital Citizenship-How to Sponsor Global Digital Society

Global Digital Society
How to Sponsor Global Digital Society?

Technology and Digital Citizenship-How to Sponsor Global Digital Society and Why it Matters to the World

We are witnessing a tremendous revolution in the field of technology and digital information. Technology has become an important and indispensable part of life. The revolution of information technology carries many pros and cons of individual and society. It is our duty as users of the technology to employ them in the correct ways, in accordance with sound ethical rules, taking into account the religious and legal controls to reduce the negatives on society. So we aim to work together to spread the right concepts of digital citizenship and contribute to the proper application to move towards a conscious and educated society.

As the world reaches the technological realm, it presents us to developing and backward countries.  Technology users, who have adopted many technological aspects, may be called "digital immigrants" despite their mastery, but as if they are learning a new language at a later stage of their lives. As digital citizens are young people and teenagers, most of the students, technology attracts their attention and interest, and that is why they are the most committed and attached to it. So there are many questions in mind how to use technology properly and correctly. As it enters everyday life, it is thought that it has caused many negative and bad habits like using a laptop while walking, or talking during the class day in classes and lectures. 

There are many examples of technology misuse and exploitation, whether at home, school or society in general. In the light of these poor uses, there is a need to identify appropriate practices and to establish clear and explicit principles and foundations when using these digital technologies because of a large number of challenges facing digital citizens. So in the future, we have to create structured legislation for the use of technologies, and there should be self-censorship. As the use of technology is growing rapidly, future challenges are also increasing speedily and becoming more difficult to face them, therefore, it is expected that, with digital citizenship, everything will be better in the future. The question here is what is Digital Citizenship? Why do we need it?

Digital Citizenship

Literacy with ICT (2009) defines Digital Citizenship as the responsible, ethical and secure use of information and communication technology by students as members of society and citizens of the global community. (Ribble, 2017) defines it as the appropriate use criteria for responsible technology, a method that prepares students for the optimal use of technology.

Digital citizenship can also be described as the code of conduct adopted in the use of multiple technologies and as norms for appropriate and responsible behavior in terms of optimal use of technology, as a means of preparing a generation that uses technology in the right and proper way. For example, the knowledge of the electronic exchange, full electronic participation in society, and the purchase and sale of goods online. It is also known as the ability to participate in the community via the Internet. A digital citizen is a citizen who uses the Internet regularly and effectively. A priority for digital citizenship is the provision of security for Internet users.

Digital citizenship is one of the most important pillars on which the state depends on finding solutions to issues that concern society. As technology advances, it is necessary to establish controls and standards to deal with this progress. The so-called digital citizenship, which enables us to overcome the disadvantages of technology in general, is not technical, but a culture that should be available to all digital users.

Due to the increasing use of technology day by day, the dissemination of digital citizenship culture has become an essential requirement and an urgent necessity, technology has become a priority and our life has become a digital life. Due to this digital transformation in all areas of life, there is a growing need to promote digital citizenship, whether for citizens or digital immigrants, in light of the spread of inappropriate behaviors, such as various types of cybercrime, such as the spread of pornographic sites, crimes of threats, harassment and extortion, , Financial fraud, hacking and data theft, extremism and terrorism, sexual abuse of minors.

What are the axes of digital citizenship?

There is no doubt that the dissemination of a culture of digital citizenship has become an urgent necessity. It must be transformed into programs and projects parallel to civil society initiatives and media institutions so that we can enhance the protection of our societies against the negative effects of technology while optimizing the use of them for the development of the knowledge society and building the national digital economy.

Digital citizenship has nine elements agreed upon by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), as mentioned by Ribble (2012) in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools. These elements have been identified to help better understand the topics that constitute digital citizenship and provide an organized way to teach and incorporate them into the curriculum appropriately to have fully digitized citizens. These elements are as follows:

Digital Access: means equal opportunity for all students in terms of technological access, so that technology is accessible to all and has the opportunity to engage in a digital society. As we prepare students for a technological future, access to technology in schools must be available and accessible.

Digital Commerce: Educate students about digital commerce and smart consumption, and tell them about issues they may face while shopping online such as fraud, identity theft, personal information, etc. so that students become more aware when buying or selling goods electronically, which in turn prepares them to interact in the digital economy.

Digital Communication: Digital communication is the new way people interact with each other, whether through e-mail, video calling, instant messaging, social networking sites, or other digital media. It is, therefore, necessary to achieve appropriate social and digital communication when communicating with others and to educate students about the etiquette and rules to be followed.

Digital Culture: Despite efforts to spread technology in general, it is often the focus of teaching on technology education itself, not how to use it properly. One of the most important issues of digital culture is learning the basics of digital, assessing the electronic resources and the accuracy and authenticity of their content, as well as detecting and developing patterns of learning on the Internet and distance learning.

Digital Code of Conduct: In the past, the responsibility of establishing the rules of behavior was usually the sole responsibility of parents. Now, as technology develops, parents can no longer keep pace with what is new and what is appropriate and inappropriate digital content. And teachers demonstrate our role in addressing issues of digital behavior in the curriculum and emphasize the principle of respect and introduce students to the basics of digital rules of conduct.

Digital Security: It includes teaching students how to protect their electronic data by using antivirus programs, digital security systems, and not providing personal data to anyone on the Internet, which in turn protects them from identity theft, fraud, and harassment.

Digital Laws: A digital law protecting digital users (It is located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the name of the system of Combating Cyber Crime), and any violation of the laws of this system applies to actual penalties. This should be addressed through the school and it should be considered as a penalty for some irresponsible behavior of students such as the use of piracy programs, hacking of programs and systems, sexual harassment, identity theft, etc.

Digital Rights and Responsibilities: As a digital law that protects digital citizens, the rights of these citizens, such as privacy, protection of intellectual property and other rights must be cautious. There are responsibilities in return for these rights. In order to achieve its rights, this digital society will have to fulfill its responsibilities, which is the optimal and responsible use of technology.

Digital Health and Wellness: Educate students about physical risks that can withstand the use of technology such as problems with the eyes, shoulders or back and other symptoms and can develop an actual addiction and there may be some mental and psychological problems. Students need to combine the use of technology while maintaining good health.

Community Integration Initiative

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has launched the Community Integration Initiative to empower rural and marginalized communities through development projects and raise awareness of the benefits of technology in cooperation with civil society organizations. The initiative also seeks to promote development in rural and marginalized areas through the application of technological solutions to create a sustainable and integrated development model. The State is also keen on empowering women, as well as improving educational services, health care, supporting small businesses through the use of technology tools, and integrating people with disabilities into the labor market. The initiative aims at empowering 600 visually impaired and physically challenged young people between the ages of 18 and 35.

Technology is of great importance to people with disabilities in terms of choice and opportunity, enabling them to participate fully in their communities. The Ministry has realized how technology can revolutionize the lives of people with disabilities, so they have taken concrete steps to help them with independence and empowerment, support access to information, freedom of expression, personal communication and opinion, as well as providing accessible information on assistive technologies.

Digital citizenship and the education system

The concept of digital citizenship has a strong relationship to the education system, as it can help teachers, students and parents in general, to understand what students need to know in order to use technology appropriately. Digital citizenship is more than just an educational tool. It is a means of preparing students for full involvement in society and active participation.
Of course, there are many problems related to technology, which if applied digital values of citizenship disappeared completely from our lives, including:

  • Not to use technology in the right track.
  • Linking the use of technology to negative habits, such as the use of mobile while driving.
  • The emergence of many electronic problems, such as information crimes, hacking, and piracy.
  • E-discussions on networks that have no relation to social ethics.
  • Low level of electronic security.
  • Low technology use skills of many learners and some teachers.
  • Lack of desire of some to use technology in education, and use it for social entertainment only.
  • There are many destructive calls and misleading news on technological means.
  • Lack of a general culture of technology use in life.
  • Excessive use of technology, causing some to be damaged.

How do we make our generation more conscious, aware and responsible?

We emphasize the beginning that the main goal of education is to help students prepare for their future because technology will be part of this future, not just providing them with basic science and knowledge, because knowledge exists everywhere and their role lies in their good selection under this information momentum. Based on what we say, we need learners who are equipped with a critical and innovative mentality that will enable them to deal with all forms of existing technology and will emerge in the future. We want to develop a digital society that has the values of citizenship, and all this is achieved through the curriculum.

Are our curricula in the present form incorporating the concepts of digital citizenship? What is the role of curriculum development towards digital citizenship?

In order to answer the first part of the question, we must diagnose the reality and analyze the content of the current education curricula and issue clear judgments. Then we define the needs based on scientific foundations and we build the curriculum components in the light of digital citizenship. As for the second part of the question, the role of curriculum development is great in instilling values in general and sound principles in the minds of learners and the consolidation of constants and ethics. This is not achieved by simply adding a course or topic within a curriculum, but by incorporating the values of digital citizenship into the curriculum and making it a general framework through which educational situations are presented.

One of the most important values of digital citizenship: respect the learner for himself and others, as well as protect himself and others around him, self-learning and good communication with others. Even to protect the learner himself and others must be used to the use of critical thinking skills that protect the owner from blindness without control or awareness, and to practice the analysis of positions and evaluate them scientifically logical assessment, and also able to skill selection of good alternatives, and accommodate the rights and responsibilities of digital. For example, when a student creates or publishes something that preserves rights, in contrast when using any published material, he must preserve the rights of others by documenting the source.

Finally, instilling the values of digital citizenship is not a luxury, but a necessity. Rather, these values must be included in the future approach, because when developing the curriculum, we must take into consideration the nature of the age in which we live and its consequences. This is in line with the general objectives of education in accordance with the National Transition Program 2020 and the 2030 vision. This included curriculum development and enhancing the values and skills of students so that students become aware and strong and possess the necessary knowledge and skills for the future such as critical thinking, problem-solving, decision making, self-control, and others.

Author Detail:

Mahtab Alam Quddusi, A graduate of science (B.Sc M.Sc), A passionate writer, Editor, and founder of "The Scientific World".

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