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Digital citizenship is a concept of responsible Internet behavior, revolving around using the technology and tools available on the Internet in a safe, prudent, and legal manner (Frazier & Hearrington, 2017). It involves a set of practices to be followed in order to ensure the security of personal effects, data, and the information system involved in the process. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the school’s digital citizenship and acceptable use policies.
Digital citizenship as a concept is an important framework, upon which future interactions between students, teachers, parents, and the larger Internet community could be based. The school’s digital citizenship policy involves the following notions (Ribble, 2015):
- Personal respect. The user must respect oneself and others when selecting usernames, avatars, and other forms of online identity;
- Personal protection. The user must omit publishing any personal information that might help others identify them in real life;
- Respecting other people. The user must not make other people feel uncomfortable;
- Protecting other people. The user must report all incidents of bullying and avoid spreading harmful information;
- Respecting and protecting intellectual property. The user is expected to cite any information taken from other sources and request permission to use any texts, video materials, audio materials, or imagery, before administering such.
As it is possible to see, digital citizenship lays down the basics of appropriate behavior on the Internet, contributing to a safe and secure educational and social environment.
Acceptable Use Policy
The school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) establishes the rules for using Internet technology as well as various digital and electronic devices within the school setting. The provisions of the current AUP mirror the overarching digital citizenship framework and include the following (Frazier & Hearrington, 2017):
- Personal safety: The user is prohibited from sharing personal information, such as addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, or last names of oneself or any other person;
- Password protection: Passwords are to be kept secret from anyone, with proper discretion used when administering such. Should the user feel the security of a password was compromised, the user must change the password. For security reasons, the password should consist of at least 12 symbols, using numbers as well as uppercase and lower-case characters (Ribble, 2015);
- Privacy: School computers are not to be considered private data storages. The school reserves the right to monitor, inspect, copy, and review all information processed through the school network. Internet access is provided for educational purposes only. According to federal law, the school must save all relevant emails and files for a period of seven years (“School district email retention,” n.d.);
- Online etiquette. The user is expected to behave in a socially appropriate manner. The use of vulgar, suggestive, bullying, threatening, or abusive language is forbidden. Spreading illegal or implicit content using the school network is not allowed;
- Violating copyrights. The use of private content without permission is forbidden (“Public law 94-553,” 1974). All papers must be written in one’s all language, with appropriate citations if necessary;
- Use of devices. Taking photos and videos of staff and other students without permission is not allowed. The use of gadgets is to be restricted to educational purposes.
Conclusions and Recommendations
As it is possible to see, the school’s AUP covers the basics of appropriate internet and gadget use within the school setting. However, the existing list was written a while ago and could use an update in order to reflect the latest technological developments. Namely, the use of proxies to circumvent access protection and data filtering should also be mentioned in the updated AUP. Lastly, the privacy section should provide means of two-step identification, preferably with a six-digit code sent to the user’s smartphone to complete access.
Frazier, M., & Hearrington, D. (2017). The technology coordinator’s handbook (3rd ed.). Portland, OR: The International Society for Technology in Education.
Public law 94-553. (1974). Web.
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. Portland, OR: The International Society for Technology in Education.
School district email retention. (n.d.). Web.