Digital citizenship and digital literacy – essential skills for today's world

  • Awareness
  • 16/01/2018
  • Maltese Safer Internet Centre

Today's youth generation appears to engage with all things that are digital without any effort at all, since they are born in an interactive world based on texting, mobile internet and social networking. Since much of the interaction in the digital world happens at a distance, students and adults alike are sometimes not aware of the cause and effect of their behaviour online. Perceived anonymity online also makes it easier for people to participate in unethical, and sometimes illicit, behaviours. Thus, it would be appropriate to say that this interactive world requires new codes of conduct so that people behave in an ethical and responsible way online.

As a consequence, the concepts of digital citizenship and digital literacy are gaining momentum around the globe. There are various definitions of these concepts, but basically it is a curriculum that make students aware of their responsibility for their content and actions when using all types of digital media. It also empowers them to be critical and creative digital users and develop good, safe and ethical behaviours online.

Different white papers and policies have been issued in different countries, but what is common in all is the insistence that digital literacy must become an integral part of student's education today, like reading, science, mathematics and writing. A digitally literate child will therefore be able to use, understand, participate and communicate with the digital media around him or her. He or she should also be able to understand and employ ever-more powerful tools, and apply them in creative new ways that will help them succeed in school and in the 21st century workplace.

Digital citizenship and digital literacy therefore focus on knowledge, attitudes, skills and understanding of the digital world. This includes the ability to search, to tell the difference between an advert and a scholarly result, and between a biased and an impartial, fair result. It is also about action. It is about the way one treats and respects other people. When students learn how to critically engage with the web, it also empowers them to do the same in their relationships on the web.

This year's Safer Internet Day (SID) celebrations, which will take place on Tuesday, 6 February 2018 with the theme, "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you" provide a good opportunity to discuss issues regarding digital citizenship – find out more at www.saferinternetday.org.

Find out more about the work of the Maltese Safer Internet Centre (SIC), including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.


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Digital Citizenship Education

Building on the achievements of the Council of Europe's Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) programme, and the initial results of the Competences for Democracy and Intercultural Dialogue project - as well as cooperation activities from other sectors - the CoE's Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice (CDPPE) has recently approved a pan-European project on Digital Citizenship Education (DCE).

New Maltese workbooks help young people learn digital citizenship skills

  • Awareness
  • 08/03/2017
  • Maltese Safer Internet Centre/Stephen Camilleri, Education Officer – PSCD

As part of the BeSmartOnline! project in Malta, Personal Social and Career Development (PSCD) Education Officers have developed a series of workbooks to help teach young people digital citizenship skills. Read on to find out more.