Muse Wellbeing Blog

Wellbeing articles and RHE + PSHE information.

How Do You Teach Digital Citizenship to Primary Students?

Digital citizenship is an incredibly important primary school topic that is often not fully understood (or sometimes prioritised). With students engaging with the online world at an increasingly early stage of life, digital citizenship and internet safety are now essential aspects of all primary school curriculums.

What is Digital Citizenship? 

Digital citizenship is the responsible and ethical use of technology and internet-enabled devices. Digital citizenship covers a range of understanding, such as: positive digital communication, appropriate use of connected devices, safe internet use and safeguarding strategies as well as exploring the concept of our digital footprint.

Why is Digital Citizenship Important for Primary School Students? 

Many of us will have grown up in a time when access to the internet was either a luxury or possibly non-existent. In line with this, it’s easy to overlook how our students and young children interact with connected devices and the internet.

Digital access and technology use is a common aspect of young children’s daily lives. Ofcom found a staggering 87% of children aged 3 to 4 years old use the internet in 2022. Of course, this figure is set to rise.

Many children may not realize that their online activities could be putting them at risk of interacting with inappropriate content that can potentially cause harm. Not all websites or online content is properly regulated, leading to potential instances of exploitation and trauma that could have lasting effects on a child’s wellbeing.

The concept of a “digital footprint” has existed for some years, though has never been more important. Ofcom states that 38% of children aged 5 to 7 years old use some form of social media in the UK. Within a digital citizenship curriculum, students should learn to understand how their history of internet use creates a clearly defined and permanent digital footprint that can have far-reaching consequences on their personal and professional lives.

How to Teach Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety to Students

Considering the growing trends of internet and technology use, teaching a complete digital citizenship curriculum from a young age is of utmost importance. Lessons should begin within EYFS or KS1 classrooms, with progress of learning and lesson content made throughout each year. 

It’s important to note that digital citizenship is not just internet safety. They are incorporated into one another, but digital citizenship greatly expands on the positive, safe behaviours of internet safety to match our modern behaviours and evolving habits.

Many curriculums used within primary schools provide lessons for internet safety, though at times without a clear focus on digital citizenship. Within the Muse Wellbeing curriculum, schools will find an extensive series of progressive lessons that teach digital citizenship as a complete subject.

A core focus of digital citizenship learning lies in developing an empathetic and mindful approach to online and technology use. Learning concepts aim to encourage a sense of independence while using digital resources and safeguarding learners to protect their personal information and online security.

  • Technology Skills: Teaching essential technology and computing skills as once undertaken in more traditional IT lessons within schools.
  • Data and Internet Safety: Key learning delivered on data safety and privacy safeguards that students can take whilst online.
  • Online Communication: Promoting respectful online communication and exploring understanding of cyberbullying and fostering healthy interactions.
  • Digital Footprint: Understanding the impact a digital footprint can have on our online reputation and future opportunities.
  • Digital Laws: Introducing digital laws and exploring online regulations helps to promote ethical behaviour online.

Overall, digital citizenship is a critical element as part of any school’s learning curriculum. Promoting better use of technology and internet safety allows students to develop the skills they need for modern life and continuing their educational journeys.

A Tailored Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Ensuring students understand the importance of digital citizenship is integral during their primary school education. At Muse Wellbeing. we truly believe a strong digital citizenship is essential for all learners throughout all year groups in primary school.

For this reason, we included digital citizenship and online safety as our 5th core value and have integrated a range of learning opportunities throughout the whole curriculum and all year groups.

The Muse Wellbeing curriculum covers 5 core values of teaching and learning.

  1. Mental and Physical Health
  2. Positive and Respectful Relationships
  3. Global Citizenship and Community Care
  4. Personal Growth and Economic Wellbeing
  5. Digital Citizenship and Online Safety

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How Do You Teach Digital Citizenship to Primary Students?