We are living in the digital age – more and more of our everyday activities and tasks are becoming digital, be that work meetings or school classes. But, how can one navigate the digital landscape, without exposing themselves to misinformation or their data being stolen? Guest writer David Lukić shares his tips on how to become a digital citizen and avoid the pitfalls of the internet.

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We communicate, recreate, and work in an internet-connected world. Although this new paradigm makes much of life easier, it also requires some adjustments to our habits. Among the challenges is being a good digital citizen.

While the digital world has allowed us to maintain some sense of normalcy and continuity through the global pandemic, many people are ambivalent about it. The 24/7 nature of the internet is exhausting and can be stressful as it never goes away; we feel we are never free of it. Unfortunately, letting our guards down may have negative consequences. such as data breaches.

What is Digital Citizenship?

The digital world is a future dimension where people interact virtually on all aspects of careers, education, and social life. Digital citizenship is our behavior in that world, including how we treat data, other people, and our participation and contributions. There are new rights and responsibilities involved, including some around potential data breaches.

Some of the aspects of digital citizenship to consider:

Balance and self-policing

Being online for work or school at any time of day or night can lead to burnout. It’s important to set boundaries and to add self-care to the mix to avoid stress-related issues. Be sure to incorporate breaks such as going outside for a walk, setting periods of blackout time when devices are offline, and pursuing activities that are disconnected from the internet, such as cooking, reading books, playing basketball, or creative hobbies.

Respect

Along with respecting your body’s need for downtime, remember to take a step back and consider the individuals you are interacting with online, including those who facilitate your work or learning. The nature of online work and school tends to excite people, elevating stress. We all need to take a step back from the anonymity of computers and consider how people are likely to receive what we are saying or communicating. Criticism should be tempered with humility and used sparingly.

Responsibility

Digital citizenship is a right and a privilege. Each person participating should know (or make a point to learn) the appropriate settings when being included in an online group, to enter with a positive attitude of respect, and to treat the contributions of others (including materials accessible through online libraries) with deference.

Tips and Tricks for Becoming a Great Digital Library Citizen

Digital libraries are wonderful assets that allow access to tomes of information for education and research as well as tools (virtual and physical) that help us with work, school, and our personal lives. Likewise, the librarians who curate the collections are available as resources to help people identify and locate the appropriate materials.

Secondary school and university students stand to benefit from digital libraries as long as they take advantage of the opportunities presented. If used properly, a digital library may accelerate learning by drilling down into academic journals and specialty periodicals that are more easily found online. An additional benefit is that digital library materials may take many forms including videos, audio recordings, and video demonstrations, making the information available to people with different comprehension and access skills. With the assistance of a qualified teacher or librarian, students may also identify, locate, and interact with materials worldwide, including translating from other languages when necessary.

Here are some tips for being a good digital citizen using a digital library:

1.) Familiarize yourself with the material available to narrow your search.

2.) Check for FAQ and study guide information.

3.) Participate in training and orientation opportunities to learn about accessing materials and using tools.

4.) Read and understand rules about using material and citing sources.

5.) Understand limits to using material provided by others, including photos and videos.

6.) Budget your time to have the materials you need well in advance of any deadlines. Librarians must divide their efforts among many different people and demands, making last-minute requests stressful for everyone.

7.) Monitor the amount of personal information you divulge. Libraries are generally safe places for collecting data, but they are not immune to data breaches through malware. Be alert for spoofed pages and pop-up windows, and always back up your work and log out of any databases, websites, and email programs when finished.

The Role of Digital Citizens in Libraries

A digital library deserves the same respect as a physical library. Those who use libraries for school, business, or personal development should establish good practices, including providing feedback to librarians and administrators. This information helps those in charge of libraries better understand different learning styles and levels of comprehension and the types of information best suited to research.

Conclusion

Digital libraries open the worlds of research and learning to new populations. Our responsibilities in this world are to make the best use of the opportunities and safeguard them. Respect for the materials, the data, and the people who make them available will extend the lives of these assets, so others may learn from and make contributions to them.

Additional resources: Additional information on What is a data breach and what do we have to do in case of a data breach from the European commission can be found HERE.

We will be back next week with another interesting article from the library world!

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AUTHOR DETAILS:

David Lukić

David Lukić is an information privacy, security, and compliance consultant at IDstrong. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to share all the knowledge he has. You can learn more about data breaches by going to https://www.idstrong.com/data-breaches/

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