Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship

In what ways have "personal safety" and "citizenship" changed? How do we respond to those changes?

Expectations of conduct

When I was growing up, there were expectations my parents had of me for my personal safety and development:
  • Ask permission before going somewhere.
  • Don't talk to strangers. -- (With the exception of my parents/entrusted adult being aware of the conversation.)
  • Ask for help when I need it.
  • Be polite and use good manners.
  • Help others when I can, and add to their lives.
These are the same expectations I have of my own children for their interactions in our physical community and our digital communities.

What resources are available to us? 

Tap into resources to start the conversations and learning.

Click here to view Spark Top's showing of Brain POP's Online Safety video

Final thoughts

Expectations for personal safety and citizenship extend beyond our physical community and into our digital community.
  • How will we respond to the changes in personal safety and citizenship to include our digital communities? 
  • What digital citizenship and safety expectations should we set for ourselves, students, or schools?
  • What authentic learning opportunities can we offer students to safely practice digital citizenship?
  • What else are you thinking about related to this post?

This post was inspired by SMES Principal Heather Wallace. Thank you for making proactive choices to focus on digital citizenship and Internet safety. Thank you for inviting me to work with your staff! I also want to thank Sheri Edwards for helping me with my Essential Question for this professional development/post!


  1. Tracy, what marvelous questions and resources these are to begin the conversation and the lessons to encourage and practice digital citizenship. We want our own and our students' digital footprints to reflect in reality what we hope we will leave behind. As we bring technology into our lessons, the question, "What authentic learning opportunities can we offer students to safely practice digital citizenship?" will keep this focus. To guide kids, it's the daily application and conversations within our classrooms and online that will grow citizenship qualities. We need to plant and nurture the seeds continuously. I'll be referring others to your thoughtful introduction to this essential topic. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Sheri,

    "We want our own and our students' digital footprints to reflect in reality what we hope we will leave behind." -- This is so true, and powerfully worded.

    Learning and discussing internet safety and digital citizenship is best while actually using the internet meaningfully. -- It's like reading about how to be a cook is not the same as cooking. Learning to be a chef while actually having someone there to guide, help with safety and quality of the meal is the most valuable. Something that would not have had the same results if we just read about it. -- It's not a very strong parallel, but the idea of learning it in school while actually safely connecting with others, knowing what to share/not to share, etc. is the best context for learning it, and way more meaningful than a few lessons once a year. Imagine what would happen if all kids grew up understanding their digital footprint because they were creating them and reflecting on them!

    Again, thanks for your comment and help with brainstorming the essential question!

    Kind regards,

  3. Wow, Sheri and Tracy, I love this conversation you have been having. I've been bookmarking these resources for our own staff. Thanks for the challenge!

    Last spring I had the benefit of team-teaching with another teacher for an exploratory class with 7th grade. She was teaching digital literacy and I was leading them in blogging, putting into practice what they were learning about digital citizenship. I'm excited to go further with them this year as 8th graders.

    Thanks again to you both for your powerful insights and leadership.


  4. Hi Denise,

    That's fabulous about your team teaching. I was able to experience that with blogging last year through Mrs. Martinez, and I'm looking forward to blogging with several classes and one principal this upcoming year.

    Sheri has fabulous resources and posts on digital citizenship. I look forward to this upcoming year and continuing these discussions with our students.

    Kind regards,


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