Education for digital citizenship is a vital component of Curriculum for Excellence. It helps young people develop the skills and experience outside the classroom.
“Young people are citizens of today, not citizens in waiting. For learners, education for [digital] citizenship is about developing the ability to take up their place in society as responsible, successful, effective and confident citizens both now and in the future.”
It’s vital for young people that citizenship education and support for engagement in community life through youth work should include digital citizenship and all that it entails.
In a study on the mental health benefits of social media services, Collin et al (2011) draw on a range of evidence. They emphasise that these positive aspects rely on a level of awareness of good ‘cyber-citizenship’ amongst young people:
“Importantly, the benefits of Social Networking Services (SNS) use are dependent on good Internet and media literacy: having the skills to analyse and create media content. Maximising the benefits of SNS and promoting Internet and media literacy may help protect young people from many of the risks of online interaction, such as cyber-bullying.”
Read more about this here.
For young people, to leverage the opportunities afforded by interpersonal communication online and avoid the associated risks, media literacy need to be renewed. This is important in supporting the positive value of social networking to promote mental health and wellbeing.
“A range of recent academic, policy and practice-focused work in the UK and internationally has identified a need for more focused attention on the role of digital literacies in enabling young people to more effectively navigate their way through an increasingly complex, digitally mediated world.”