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Discrepancy between Learning and Practicing Digital Citizenship


The importance of digital citizenship has been well recognized and integrated in standardized school curriculum. However, there are very few empirical studies that report on the success of these new initiatives. Our teaching experience suggest that students are able to perform well on exams that assess proper online conduct, but they still fail to follow digital citizenship guidelines in practice. In this paper, we present a study to investigate students’ attitudes and opinions on various digital citizenship concepts via a self-reported questionnaire that is designed to gain insights on what the students would actually do in real life. Our results show that among the nine digital citizenship elements, students have the most appreciation for access, communication, literacy, and security. On the other hand, elements such as digital etiquette and health and wellness were trivialized and undervalued. Furthermore, we found some students were unable to come to a consensus on what is right and wrong in certain scenarios pertaining to digital law. As the Internet continues to gain prominence in our daily lives, these findings lead to important questions of how learning modules and how the overall education system need to change so to ensure the growth of good digital citizens in the future generation.

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Correspondence to Bowen Hui.

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Hui, B., Campbell, R. Discrepancy between Learning and Practicing Digital Citizenship. J Acad Ethics 16, 117–131 (2018).

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  • Digital citizenship assessment
  • Curriculum design
  • Student experience
  • Conceptual scenarios