Digital citizenship: our definition

Glitch believes that digital citizenship is an essential solution to ending all forms of online abuse. Our approach and perspective on digital citizenship is built on definitions from the Council of Europe and Australian Curriculum.

All individuals have a right to safely and freely engage in all online spaces without discrimination. Digital Citizenship is respecting and championing the human rights of all individuals online, and encompasses three key elements: individual, social and institutional responsibilities.

  • How can individuals be digital citizens?
    Digital citizens’ individual responsibilities include digital literacy, digital safety, their digital footprint, and digital self care.
  • What are our social responsibilities as digital citizens?
    Social responsibility online includes enacting active bystander interventions, practising respectful online etiquette, responsible and positive engagement with digital technologies; and not misusing them to disadvantage others.
  • What part do institutions have to play in Digital Citizenship?
    It is not the sole responsibility of the individual and online communities to effectively practice digital citizenship. Efforts must be taken by both government institutions and tech companies to ensure individuals can exercise their online rights, with increased efforts made to protect the rights of those with multiple and intersecting identities.

Government institutions must prioritise digital citizenship education for all. This education includes: how digital technologies work and how to use them effectively, an understanding of ethics and related law, online safety, access to justice and redress, and advice on related health and safety issues such as predators, digital self care and digital footprint.

The Government also has a key responsibility to ensure that tech companies prioritise digital citizenship. This responsibility should cover: outlining clear roles and responsibilities, accountability, regulation, and investment in education and resources.

In terms of how tech companies should prioritise digital citizenship, their responsibility lies with creating technology and online platforms that are safe and non-discriminatory for all users. This includes designing online spaces, systems, rules and tools – including artificial intelligence – that encourages digital citizenship from their users, dedicating adequate training and resources towards digital citizenship, consulting their users, acting transparently and proactively, and implementing robust safety mechanisms.

Only when all of these elements are in play can we create an online space that is truly safe, free from abuse, discrimination and violence.

Glitch is a UK registered charity. Charity number: 1187714