As students are currently taking classes online, it’s important that they know how to be responsible digital citizens. How can educators promote digital citizenship through distance learning? Here are a few ideas to help teachers get started.

Hold Online Discussions About Digital Citizenship and Distance Learning

As students transition into online classes, have discussions about digital citizenship and what it means. Let students ask questions about how to be responsible internet users. Tell students how important digital citizenship is now that classes are all online. Challenge them to include at least one element of digital citizenship in their online use each day. 

Encourage Activities Outside of Social Media

Challenge students to limit their time on social media. Give them ideas of productive things to do during the day that don’t require them to be on their phones. Encourage a balance of social media use and other activities to do when they’re bored. For example, suggest that they reconnect with an old hobby or pick up a new one. You could even build tech-free hobbies into an assignment or extra credit opportunity.

Share Video Resources

To answer questions and engage students, share online resources that explain digital citizenship. There’s a huge variety of videos for all ages of students available online. Many of them are dedicated to the different elements of being a responsible internet user

Include Digital Citizenship In Online Learning Assignments

To make sure students are learning about digital citizenship, mix in elements with their homework. Include these lessons with their assignments. For example, teach students about media literacy. Then, have them write a paper including online sources. This way, they will be doing their homework while practicing digital citizenship.

Have Students Write It Out

After these lessons or a day of limited social media use, ask students to journal their thoughts. Ask them what was difficult and which step they integrated into their day. This will give students material for class discussions. It also will show them how they’ve grown as a digital citizen while distance learning.


Text by Claire Manasco


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