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What It Means To Be A Digital Citizen

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019 and filed under

The world has seen many civilizations, empires, and countries rise and fall.

Along the way, citizens have had to change everything they know and understand to become a citizen of a newer ‘government.’ However, humans are now at a point where the entire world is connected through globalization and technology.

This has given rise to the idea of digital citizenship – a means to unite the world’s different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities under one common citizenship. A digital citizen is a person who can adequately utilize the power of information technology (IT) and the internet to navigate and engage with society.

At first, being a digital citizen was all about actively participating in online conversations, journalism, blogging, etc. But now, anyone who has an email address and an online presence of any kind is considered a digital citizen.

This is why digital citizenship is often made synonymous with literacy, with many states expected to use digital citizenship as a literacy rate metric soon.

Experts believe that becoming a digital citizen today is much harder than it will be tomorrow.

There are countless baby boomers and Gen-Xers that are not very proficient with IT and the internet. Plus, there is a serious lack of IT and internet access in developing and under-developed countries, restricting more than half the world’s population from becoming digital citizens.

However, tech experts and researchers believe that by the year 2050, the number of digital citizens will have doubled – due to cheaper and more scalable access to IT systems and the internet. Add the incoming 5G mobile internet network and the likes of Elon Musk’s Space X’s grand Starlink space internet endeavor to that, and you have global connectivity.

The concept of digital citizenship is further enhanced by additions like digital literacy that explain your digital proficiency, your ability to navigate the internet, to find and harvest information, and to communicate with fellow digital citizens.

So, in essence, becoming a digital citizen now starts with having access and the know-how to operate IT systems and navigate the internet. It is further watered down to things like digital literacy and communicative abilities. All in all, being a digital citizen essentially means that you are primed and ready for not only the present but the future!