Ahoy, teachers and parents!
Feel free to use the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship below with your own kiddos (but remember to observe the fourth commandment). I wrote these in preparation for my after school club, Quills and Thrills: Creative Writing for the Google Generation. My goal with the club is to support students writing skills by appealing to their interests in social media, blogging, and YouTube. Before allowing students to publish anything online however, they will first be required to watch the two videos below, sign the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship Pledge, and have their parents sign the pledge.
Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship
I. Thou shalt think and edit before posting. Once you post something online, it is forever online. You may think it goes away when you click that nifty “delete” button, but it doesn’t goes away. It just becomes harder to find…if you’re lucky.
II. Thou shalt not cyberbully. Always remember the golden rule: if you don’t want someone else to say it about you, do not post it about someone else – whether you think they will see it or not. This includes trolling, folks.
III. Thou shalt keep thine identity private. You never know who is looking at your posts, especially if you do not keep strict privacy settings on your social media accounts. Never give out personal information about yourself, including your name, address, phone number, school, or city of residence. Only post photos with your parents’ permission, and make sure all identifying information is removed from the photo before posting.
IV. Thou shalt not steal content. Give credit where credit is due! Make sure you cite your sources when using photos you’ve found online by hyperlinking to the original photo. Do not steal other people’s jokes or memes or posts and then claim them as your own. That is plagiarism which is a huge no-no.
V. Thou shalt choose thy photos wisely. If you don’t want your grandmother or future boss to see a photo, do not post it online. If your friend may not want his/her grandmother or future boss to see a photo, do not post it online. If you do not want your crazy English teacher to see a photo, do not post it online.
VI. Thou shalt not post about thy relationship. The content you post online represents who you are as an individual, and your relationship does not define you. Post about yourself, not about your bae.
VII. Thou shalt not waste thy reader’s time. Is it really important for your reader to know that you just got out of the shower, or that you just went to the gym? Before posting, ask yourself the purpose of the post. If it is to entertain, make it witty. If it is to inform, make it relevant. If it is simply to get attention, delete it.
VIII. Thou shalt keep posts positive. People like reading about things that make them feel good, not depressed or angry. Constant negativity will make you look like a whiney schmuck that nobody wants to be around or follow online. #GetOverIt and #Smile
IX. Thou shalt not be cryptic. This is another selfish and attention seeking ploy staged by those who are desperate for attention. Rather than pique interest in the minds of your followers, cryptic posts simply annoy them and encourage them to unfollow you. #NoCliffHangers
X. Thou shalt handle hacking responsibly. Don’t let yourself fall for phishing scams in which big bad Internet hackers try to get your login information by convincing you to click on a link that looks too good to be true. These same big bad Internet hackers may sneakily upload a virus to your computer or send out a mass email or message to all your friends, thus infecting all of their computers or accounts as well. If you do fall victim to a scam, change your password and alert all of your friends and family immediately so they can take appropriate action to protect themselves. Don’t spread digital STDs, folks.
I, _______, pledge to be a responsible digital citizen by observing the Ten Commandments for appropriate digital conduct. I understand that violating any of these Ten Commandments may result in a loss of digital privileges until I have faced the appropriate consequences. Furthermore, I pledge to help others become responsible digital citizens by sharing the lessons of the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship with my friends and family in a friendly, non-troll like way.