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Digital Citizenship

IntroductionTop of Page

Today's world is very different from the world that some of your parents and grandparents grew up in.  There were no such things as "cell phones" that you could carry in your pocket and instantly access friends, family and even that thing called the "Internet".  TVs were in their infancy, getting only twelve channels, and with no ability to "record" anything.  If you weren't sitting at home when it came on TV, you missed it!  And computers?!  What's a computer?

Along with all of the benefits that cell phones with their instant communication, TVs with unlimited channels and recording ability, and computers which allow for immediate access to almost any information in the world, there are some drawbacks to all these technologies as well; with the good, the bad.  But that doesn't make technology a beast to be ignored or feared, it simply means there are effective ways to use this technology that allow for the benefits without the possible detriments.  This is called: digital citizenship.

In this activity, you will be investigating two of the more common ways that technology can be a problem: cyberbullying and plagiarism.  You will also investigate methods to address both of these situations.

Your task in this activity will be to ultimately produce a trifold brochure that gives other students a reason why they should participate in digital citizenship.  It should also explain what they should do if they are being harassed digitally by someone else.  The brochure should be interesting, eye-catching and appeal to students creating a desire to read it and learn more. View this attached rubric before beginning your assignment.

Boy sitting and thinking at a desk clipart

Cyberbullying ActivityTop of Page

  1. Start by listing 3 things that you think are an issue (problem) in the digital word (online, cell phone communication, social networking like Facebook, etc.). Share these with the rest of your team. Write down any that are listed 2 or more times by your team members.
  2. Go to the following page: examples of cyberbullying (, and compare your lists of digital issues to the list on this page. Write down any issues that you did not discuss in your group. Why do you think no one wrote these down in #1?
  3. Watch the YouTube video, "What Is Digital Citizenship?" ( In your own words, what is digital citizenship? Explain it like you are talking to your 10-year-old brother.
  4. With your team members, answer the question: What does "cyber" mean?  (you can look this up on the Internet if you aren't sure). Now take your answer and tack the term bullying on the end (cyber-bullying), and create a definition for this term.Computer laptop clipart
  5. See how cyberbullying affected one family:
  6. Using the information at, answer the following questions: if you were a parent, what would YOU do to get your child to let you know that they were being cyber-bullied? And what advice would you give your child to help them avoid being the target of cyber-bullying?
  7. What do you think should be the consequences of cyberbullying. List at least 5 different things.
  8. On the following webpage, scroll down to the section: "What Are the Consequences of Cyberbullying?" and list them here.( How does this compare to your list? Which list do you think has harsher consequences: yours or the website's?  Does this change the advice that you would give your own child in question 6.

Plagiarism ActivityTop of Page

  1. Next, let's take a look at something known as "plagiarism".  Plagiarism is just a fancy way of stealing other people's ideas or work and claiming them as your own.  As a team, brainstorm 3 reasons why students plagiarize.
  2. True or False: Plagiarism is when someone copies and pastes exact words and claims them as their own.
  3. Is this an example of plagiarism:
    • Original article in the Wall Street Journal: "Coca-Cola Co.’s newest diet soda helped the company keep its soda volume flat in the latest quarter as it attempts to expand its portfolio of beverages and hold on to customers who are abandoning sugary drinks."
    • Your paper: "The newest diet soda from Coca-Cola helped them keep their soda volume from decreasing in the latest quarter. It's trying to expand the drinks it offers and keep customers who are giving up sugary drinks."
  4. Take a look at the section titled: How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases on the following web page:  Now look back at question 3: did you get it right?  Why or why not?
  5. So when your teacher requires you to do research and use that research to write a paper, how are you supposed to avoid plagiarizing?  Take a look at this video on plagiarism (  What is their first hint on how to avoid plagiarism?  And how do you know when you should cite a source, or when you can just write your thoughts without citation?
  6. In no more than 2 sentences, explain how you can avoid plagiarizing someone's ideas and words while still using their information.

AssignmentTop of Page

  1. After finishing the Cyberbullying and Plagiarism activities, you will create a trifold brochure that is designed to give students "buy-in" to digital citizenship.  What this means is that they will want to be good digital citizens after reading your brochure.  The brochure should also address how to avoid digital harassment.  Remember, a brochure is essentially a short advertisement creating a basic understanding of the issue and a desire to learn more, so make every word count without boring your audience: your high school peers.  Your brochure should include a definition of digital citizenship, examples and explanations, effects, why the reader should care about it, and how to avoid it.  Your grade for this brochure will include: appropriate to age level, accuracy, includes all required topics, visual appeal, and creativity.  See the rubric attached here.
At the end of this activity, you should have an accurate understanding of exactly what is meant by the term digital citizenship, as well as why it is important to follow the rules of good digital behavior.  You may want to continue your investigation into this budding issue through perusing the following websites: