Digital Citizenship for Children and Youths

by Seda Gökçe Turan (Author)
©2021 Monographs 90 Pages


As an educator and researcher, I have tried to create awareness to pupils, teachers and families through seminars and workshops since 2012. I believe that Internet and social media are actually precious and useful. If individuals use digital environments consciously, they can even be counted as educational institutions. Unfortunately, most of the pupils, teachers and parents had great concerns regarding digital environments, which decreased after they obtained information about “digital citizenship”. So, I decided to write a book not only for teachers or parents who guided for safety at digital environments, but also for youths to understand digital citizenship.
The book is written in the hope that it would be helpful for anyone who hold concerns about digital environments.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Preface
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Content
  • Introduction
  • 1. Children and Youths in Digital Environments
  • 1.1. Children and Youths’ Digital Environment Usage Habits and Online Behaviors
  • 2. Risks and Benefits of Digital Environments
  • 2.1. Benefits of Digital Environments
  • 2.1.1. Educational Technology
  • 2.1.2. Digital Identity Development of Children and Youths
  • 2.2. Risks of Digital Environment
  • 2.2.1. Media Manipulation
  • 2.2.2. Cyber-Bullying
  • Effects of Cyber-Bullying
  • Preventing Cyber-Bullying
  • 2.2.3. Technoference
  • 3. Digital Citizenship
  • 3.1. Respect Yourself/Respect Others
  • 3.1.1. Digital Access
  • 3.1.2. Digital Etiquette
  • 3.1.3. Digital Law
  • 3.2. Educate Yourself/Connect with Others
  • 3.2.1. Digital Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Digital Media Literacy
  • 3.2.2. Digital Communication
  • 3.2.3. Digital Commerce
  • 3.3. Protect Yourself/Protect Others
  • 3.3.1. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
  • 3.3.2. Digital Security (Self-Protection)
  • 3.3.3. Digital Health and Wellness
  • Conclusion
  • References

← 8 | 9 →


Although the 21st century is known by many different names (Digital Age, Age of Technology, Age of Artificial Intelligence, etc.), it has diverse characteristics and easy access to “information” (Koltay, 2011). The impact of information on individuals and societies could be very diverse due to the structure of information in the 21st century. With different information and communication devices and digital environments, information could be both beneficial and dangerous. For example, information can be replaced with artificial intelligence applications such as Deep Fake, and it is so difficult for children and youths to differentiate Deep Fake from real ones. Moreover, parents and teachers are supposed to direct and guide children and youths for safe and conscious Internet use. But unfortunately, most of the time they are not aware of the harms and dangers on the Internet. That’s why we need to teach not only to children and youths but also to parents and teachers the digital citizenship skills so that children and youths can adapt to social life, living in a safe society, to make them conscious citizens, and to teach our children and youths some skills in schools to make them aware of the risks of the cyber world, while making them benefit from cyber world. In order to do this, parents and teachers, first focus equally on the risks and benefits of the cyber world, become conscious digital citizens, thus being models for children and youths. When we focus only on the risks (cyber-bullying, Internet addiction, hate speech, technoference, etc.) in the cyber world, we deprive not only children and youths but also adults from this world, which facilitate our daily lives, can benefit for our intellectual development, offer opportunities to have fun, easily communicate with people in different countries and follow and learn what is going on in the world. Not only for children, youths or adults but also for elders, there are ambivalent discussions. According to the findings, although they are exposed to fraud in cyber space and can believe very easily in fake news, social media is also presented as a factor that reduces anxiety for elders and increases their quality of life satisfaction and happiness (Chen & Schultz, 2016; Abad, 2014). Similarly, social media defined as “second life place” is not only for children and youths but also for elder people and adults, and it is kind of a routine part of daily life (Hallam & Zanella, 2017). Especially at social network sites, users and individuals are defined as a population, and they play a crucial role due to their effect on establishing and reinforcing social norms (Hallam & Zanella, 2017). When looking at news spreading on social media, stories of victims of ← 9 | 10 →cyber-bullying or websites that tell them about the impact of fake news on children and youths, parents’ concerns seem normal. But the point is we should not forget that just as we are likely to be snatched by thieves in daily life, but of course we do not stop going outside and taking our children outside, we should not stop joining cyber world as well.

In terms of harms and risks of digital environments, researchers (Jones & Mitchell, 2016) argued that instead of directly informing children and youths of dark sides of the Internet like cyber-bullying, sexting, online harassment, Internet addiction, etc., we should gain them digital citizenship skills and competence, so they would have chance to practice about showing respectful behaviors during online disagreement, taking others’ perspectives, and standing by people who were abused online as a result of those behaviors and practices; and there would be a possibility to reduce cyber harassment.

Before examining the digital citizenship in depth, there are some core questions that should be answered such as the meaning of living in a media culture and digital society, the expectations and perception of individuals toward digitalized and mediated society, the meaning of media and digital world for schools and institutions and parents and teachers perception about digital education as well. For this reason, approaches toward digital citizenship could not be considered without sociological, psychological and cultural aspects, dimensions and dynamics.

The definition of “digital citizenship” is also another important point. At formal education schools, teachers and practitioners give importance to educate pupils for national norms and enable them to become conscious citizens, who are aware of their responsibilities and rights; actively participate in society and obey the rules and obligations. So, there are some questions that we should answer in order to make clear definition of digital citizenship, such as do traditional or offline citizenship remain the same at the digitalized society? Are there differences between online and offline citizenship? Is this clue for catching antisocial and psychopaths to break the laws in digital environments? Are trolls a danger for offline society? (Choi et al., 2018).

To sum up, researchers strongly advise to improve individual’s digital citizenship competencies (Xu et al., 2019; Jones & Mitchell, 2016). Technical skills such as accessing Internet and using technological devices are necessary but not enough for safe engagement in the digital world (Choi et al., 2018). Children and youths should have competences to search and obtain information and gain awareness not only on local but also global levels. Furthermore, children and youths should have the chance to get actively involved in digital environments, such as communicating, cooperating and collaborating with ← 10 | 11 →others. As educators, parents and researchers, we should understand children and youths’ education and competence of social media and other digital media environments.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (March)
Digital Citizenship Children and Youth Technoference Media Manipulation
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 90 pp.

Biographical notes

Seda Gökçe Turan (Author)

Seda Gökçe Turan received her BS degree from METU, department of Early Childhood Education, her master’s degree from Gazi University department of Child Development and PhD from Marmara University, department of Informatics. She studies child and online abuse, cyber-bullying, justification of cyber-harassment and digital media literacy. She is a faculty member at Bahçes¸ehir University, Istanbul.


Title: Digital Citizenship for Children and Youths