Digital Citizenship – Concept, values, risks and benefits

We explain what digital citizenship is, the areas in which it is applied, its risks and benefits. Also, other digital concepts.

digital citizenship
Digital citizenship is the use of technology for participation in state affairs.

What is digital citizenship?

The term digital citizenship, also known as e-citizenship or cyber-citizenship, refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and the principles that guide them, for the understanding of the political, cultural and social affairs of a nation.

In other words, it is about the citizen participation through digital environments and interfaces or electronic, through the Internet and Social Networks.

Digital citizenship is part of the electronic government system or digital democracy, which precisely consists of the administration of State resources through new ICTs and all their potential, to make life easier for citizens.

In this way, a digital citizen has the right to access information online in a safe, transparent and private way, in addition to the social and political participation that 2.0 media allows.

Values ​​of digital citizenship

Digital citizenship can be applied to two different areas of life:

  • Digital education. By using the Internet and ICT for digital literacy and the development of digital skills, to reduce the gap between the different citizens of a nation.
  • Digital participation. What is the facilitation of the bureaucratic, political, social or legal procedures of the State, using the capacity of ICT for this, trying to make a responsible use of them.

Thus, digital citizenship assumes as its own the values ​​of democracy, applied to the ICT field: security, transparency, ethics, legality and inclusion.

Risks of digital citizenship

The main risk of digital citizenship is due to inequalities in Internet access for the different communities of the same country. It is known that not all citizens have physical access to telephony and the Internet, despite the fact that today these are considered basic human services. Thus, the advantages of digital citizenship are not available to everyone.

Paradoxically, its democratizing effect would produce the opposite effect in environments in which the upper classes have access to ICT and the lower classes do not, or where digital education is reserved for the more economically powerful classes. In that sense, digital citizenship must be accompanied by intense democratization efforts, to alleviate the digital divide.

Benefits of digital citizenship

The possibilities of digital citizenship are enormous. The speed of bureaucratic procedures, carried out without leaving home; the possibility of participation, making complaints, contact with authorities or even access to digital education through ICT themselves are some examples.

In other words, digital citizenship increases comfort and improves quality of life of people. Secondly, enables large-scale education and the training of critical citizens, aware of the use of ICTs and their risks, benefits and possibilities.

Concepts associated with digital citizenship

digital citizenship e learning education
E-learning is the use of digital media to facilitate learning.

Some of the concepts involved in digital citizenship are:

  • E-learning. A term that applies to learning carried out through electronic mechanisms, which allows taking enormous advantage of the possibilities of hypertext, images, animation, audiovisuals and other available resources.
  • E-government. The so-called electronic government, as we mentioned at the beginning, is a form of administration of state resources that takes advantage of the immediacy of ICT to serve the public, streamline its own processes and maximize the scope of its informative measures.
  • E-commerce. This is the term for electronic commerce, that is, the possibility of acquiring or selling goods or services through ICT, or even of associating business through them.