How to Be a Good Digital Citizen - Ellipsis Education

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How to Be a Good Digital Citizen

Explore examples of good digital citizenship with your students! Download a free digital citizenship lesson from Ellipsis Education Computer Science Fundamentals, built for grades 3-5.

Ellipsis Education Computer Science Curriculum

Ellipsis Education computer science curriculum is grade-level differentiated, aligns with all state and national computer science standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Since computer science is more than just coding, Ellipsis Education courses include coding, unplugged, digital citizenship, and STEM career lessons as well as hardware integrations.

Digital Citizenship Worksheets PDF


In this activity, students will discuss the emotional impacts of breaking news and the trustworthiness of digital media. Students will learn how to approach news headlines and how to use a critical lens when viewing media.

Use this lesson to model and practice good digital citizenship for students. When you download, you will receive our lesson plan PDF, which includes a detailed procedure, vocabulary, exit ticket, and challenge activity.

9 Elements of Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship can be defined as respectful, ethical, and empowered technology use. Sometimes, digital citizenship can be oversimplified; in reality, it’s so much more than internet safety. Digital citizenship topics span from digital communication to online health and wellness. Below, explore the digital citizenship elements and examples of digital citizenship.

  1. Digital Access
    Although we live in a digital society, not everyone has access to technology. We need to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to navigate digital tools. An example would be including image descriptions next to pictures on web pages so those who use screen readers (like blind people) can get the full experience.

  2. Digital Commerce
    Buying and selling goods is part of the online landscape. Most sites use traditional currencies, like the US dollar. Specific items, however, may require the use of cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin or ethereum. An example would be buying a digital copy of a new video game on

  3. Digital Communication
    There are so many different ways to communicate digitally. Text messaging, social media apps, and forums all allow digital chatting. Especially when we are behind a screen, we need to remember to treat others with respect. An example of this would be leaving a supportive comment on a YouTube video you enjoyed.

  4. Digital Literacy
    While the internet puts endless knowledge at our fingertips, not every website contains accurate information. Digitally literate citizens can differentiate between real and fake content. Some cases are truly black and white, but in most situations, we have to use critical thinking and develop our own opinions about what is true. An example of this would be reading two news articles about two different sides of an issue and creating your own point of view.

  5. Digital Etiquette
    Just like eating at a fancy restaurant, there are attitudes and best practices for existing online. Good digital citizens have mastered this etiquette; they can apply their knowledge in any situation and encourage others to do the same. An example would be choosing an appropriate screen name when creating an online account.

  6. Digital Law
    Because technology affects so many people, there are legal rights and restrictions that keep everyone safe. These laws can come from federal governments, state governments, or regulatory agencies. We must be aware of and follow the rules, understanding that we can be held accountable for our actions online. An example of a digital law is that we cannot pretend to be someone else, or steal an identity, online.

  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
    This particular element of digital citizenship includes aspects of the other elements we’ve already discussed. We all have the right to access technology, use digital tools to buy and sell products, and communicate with our friends online. With these rights, however, come responsibilities. We all must use appropriate etiquette, abide by digital laws, and help keep others safe. An example of this would be the responsibility to report cyberbullying if you see it happening on a social media site.

  8. Digital Health and Wellness
    In this digital age, we have constant access to information and updates about people’s lives. Sometimes, to protect our mental health, we need to know what information to avoid or when to step away from devices altogether. An example of this would be unfollowing an influencer that makes you feel bad or jealous when you see their posts.

  9. Digital Security
    There are so many opportunities to share information on the internet. We need to understand what is safe to share and what should remain private. This can sometimes be situational. An example is that it’s acceptable to share your address when online shopping on a secure webpage, but it’s not acceptable to share your home address on a public online forum.

Hopefully these 9 elements of digital citizenship examples are helpful as you consider the various facets of being a good digital citizen. Keep reading to explore why the 9 elements of digital citizenship are important and the impact good digital citizen examples can have on students.

Why is it Important to be a Good Digital Citizen?

Now that we understand the elements of digital citizenship, you might ask, “Why is digital citizenship important in the 21st century?” The importance of nine elements of digital citizenship becomes clear when you consider real-world applications of the concepts. Here are 5 key benefits of good digital citizenship.

  1. Information Literacy
    Just like we discussed in the “digital literacy” element above, there is a lot of information available on the internet. Good digital citizens know how to read, research, and critically think to create their own opinion.

  2. Cyberbullying Prevention
    When we understand digital etiquette, communication rules, and best practices, we are able to use the internet for good. This helps prevent instances of cyberbullying, which can be extremely damaging to children and young adults.

  3. Online Safety
    Hackers, viruses, and other threats are always lurking during any online interaction. When we understand digital citizenship best practices, we can keep ourselves and others safe.

  4. Responsibility
    The responsibilities of a good digital citizen are to use the internet to be creative, communicate with others, and learn new things. At the same time, we need to use this power to keep ourselves and others safe.

  5. Health and Emotional Wellness
    Good digital citizens know how to regulate their digital time to keep their bodies and minds healthy. They know the effects of screen time and content consumption on themselves, and are able to step away when they need to rest.

These benefits are more easily realized when digital habits are built early in life. Exposure and reflection about the importance of digital citizenship will help young people become the next generation of digital innovators. So far, we’ve only talked about good digital citizenship in general; let’s move on and discuss how digital responsibility is taught to students.

Digital Responsibility for Students

42% of Americans own a tablet by age 8. The average age that students receive their first smartphone is 10. 41% of Americans receive their own device through school 1:1 programs. And even before they have their own devices, children learn to use the phones, tablets, and laptops of their parents, guardians, or siblings. Clearly, students are accessing technology very early in life.

So, why is digital citizenship important for students to understand? It’s important because students, simply by using devices, are ALREADY digital citizens. Even without knowing it, students are affecting themselves and others with their technology use. That is why digital citizenship is also an important component of a K-12 education. When students learn about the elements of digital citizenship, it empowers them to go beyond passive consumption and instead become agents of change.

What is digital citizenship for students? These learning experiences typically stem from a standards body. CSTA standards have a concept called “impacts of computing” that houses many DC topics. In addition, the ISTE standards have a category of standards dedicated to digital citizenship. Learn more about both sets of standards on our K-12 Computer Science Standards page. Learning experiences that align with the standards can take many forms. Teachers can encourage discussions that help learners make connections to other concepts. They can create social emotional learning opportunities that allow students to consider their own feelings as well as the feelings of others. Most importantly, they can help students develop their own opinions.

Ellipsis Education Digital Citizenship Activities

How does Ellipsis Education incorporate digital citizenship? Digital citizenship lessons are included in every K-12 computer science course. These 15-30 minute lessons discuss the importance of safe and ethical technology use, providing students with the skills they need to grow and thrive in the digital world.

Lesson development begins with the CSTA standards, a national set of computer science standards from which many state standards derive. Explore your state standards on our United States K-12 Computer Science Standards page. Typically, digital citizenship lessons fall within the “impacts of computing” category. These standards deal with themes like accessibility, equity, access, and digital law. Ellipsis Education digital citizenship lessons not only cover these themes, but also go beyond the standards to help students consider their own experiences, cultivate their own points of view, and stay informed about current events.

In Ellipsis Education digital citizenship lessons, the question of “are you a good digital citizen?” is just the baseline. The activities focus on what being a good digital citizen means and how that behavior influences others both locally and globally. Lessons usually begin with a big idea, continue with a discussion of facts, and conclude with an interactive activity. In “What’s in the News?” from Computer Science Fundamentals, the big idea is media literacy. Then, the teacher leads a discussion about how to identify trustworthy news sources. Finally, students work together to evaluate the reliability of websites using a handout.

Ellipsis Education digital citizenship lessons are about topics that are age appropriate and relevant for the audience of each course. This helps students learn new things in a digital society and keeps things relevant to the challenges they are facing. To see an example, download “What’s In the News?” from Computer Science Fundamentals (3-5) or “Digital Security Analyst” from Computer Science Applications (6-8).

K12 Computer Science Curriculum

Ellipsis Education provides full-year K-12 computer science curriculum that aligns with your school or district’s adopted computer science standards. The curriculum offers grade level differentiated learning pathways, aligns with all state and national computer science standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Ellipsis Education courses are customized to districts’ unique instructional strategy for computer science integration. This can mean incorporating computer science into an existing class period, adding to a specials rotation, or introducing a stand alone class. Courses are delivered with the instructional resources teachers need to feel confident teaching computer science in K-12.

Our computer science curriculum for K-2 empowers you to engage your students with courses that fuel their interest. Coding lessons use ScratchJr, an introductory block coding language, perfect for emergent and early readers.

Our computer science curriculum for 3-5, helps you to inspire your students with courses that spark their creativity. Coding lessons use Scratch, a block based coding language, ideal for the transitional and fluent reader.

Our computer science curriculum middle school (6-8) helps you motivate your students with courses that connect to their world. Coding lessons use line based languages JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Java to explore programming options.

Our computer science high school curriculum (9-12) helps you empower your students with courses that expand their skills. Coding lessons use JavaScript, Java, Python, and Godot to develop websites, programs, and games.

Digital Citizenship for Kids


In this activity, students will discuss the emotional impacts of breaking news and the trustworthiness of digital media. Students will learn how to approach news headlines and how to use a critical lens when viewing media.

Use this lesson to model and practice good digital citizenship for students. When you download, you will receive our lesson plan PDF and an instructional video that walks you through how to teach the lesson.

Removing barriers to teaching computer science.