Are the effects of technology good or bad? This simple question has been an ongoing debate for quite some time. Some believe the negatives of technology outweigh the positives, and that technology is “evil”. Although people often focus on situations like this,
people need to recognize all that technology offers. Although one could endlessly argue both sides of this debate, what it really comes down to is how each individual chooses to use technology. We are the deciders of technology and have the opportunity to make it “good” or “bad”.
If someone where to ask me what being a digital citizen is, even after weeks of reading articles, watching videos, and discussing the idea in class, I am still uncertain if I could give an appropriate definition. Digital citizenship is an accumulation of ideas that on the surface can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.
It is very clear that technology is essential in the 21st century. I don’t think it’s fair to say that one needs to be a digital citizen in order to be a citizen of the 21st century, but it definitely would be beneficial. Since technology is so apparent in today’s world, it is vital that schools are preparing future generations to use technology appropriately and in ways that are valuable.
For those who believe that technology only has negative effects, Stephen Balkam displays a great example of how technology can be constructive and make a significant difference in peoples lives. In Balkam’s article, he describes how Egyptians are true examples of digital citizens. He states, “While the role of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and others may well have been overstated by some, it is undeniable that the use of the web to organize and sustain many of the protests has been critical. And what has emerged is a hopeful and potentially enriching experience of ordinary people claiming their rights of free expression and assembly and using the platform of the new technologies to make this happen.” This example of cyber- activism displays what being a digital citizen really is: using technology to make positive change and standing up for what one believes in.
Schools have the potential to meet the needs of digital citizens. More and more schools are utilizing and incorporating technology into the classroom. It is up to teachers to instruct their students how to use technology in productive ways. As demonstrated in Egypt, technology can have remarkable outcomes. Although most people associate digital citizenship as staying safe online, standing up to cyber-bullying, respecting the online community, and thinking about what one posts, this comic strip made by a student is a great display of another way to look at digital citizenship.
In order to prepare future generations to be digital citizens, schools need to recognize and support the idea of digital citizenship. One way to do this is by having digital citizen classes for all students. This school has a specific class for teaching digital citizenship, and if other schools follow their lead,and expand on it, educators can start to prepare to meet the needs of their digital citizen students.