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Digital citizenship

What is digital citizenship?

NetSafe  defines a digital citizen as someone who:

"A digital citizen understands the rights and responsibilities of inhabiting cyberspace."

  • is a confident and capable user of ICT
  • uses technologies to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activities
  • uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace
  • is literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologies
  • is aware of ICT challenges and can manage them effectively
  • uses ICT to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways
  • demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICT
  • respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world
  • contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship.

Sean Lyons, Development Manager from NetSafe, discusses the definition for digital citizenship and how it fits into the national curriculum. 

Key resource

Netsafe: Learn Guide Protect
The myLGP website has been developed by NetSafe, in collaboration with New Zealand teachers, to support the Learn Guide Protect Framework . The site promotes a student-centred approach to teaching and learning about cybersafety and digital citizenship  across the curriculum.

Identify your current practice and some next steps

Use the discussion starters in conjunction with the e-Learning Planning Framework  to explore your current practice and identify some next steps for your school community.

  • A boy using a computer
    What is digital citizenship? Does the whole staff have a shared understanding of what it is, and what it means for teaching and learning?
  • How are the key competencies reflected in the school’s vision for e-learning?
  • What might it look like if staff and students are demonstrating digital citizenship behaviours?
  • How will the school work with the wider community to explore and discuss the appropriate use of technologies, digital citizenship, and cybersafety?
  • How are you and your students building on your own knowledge and understanding of what the key competencies look like when working online?
  • How do you and your students model safe and responsible attitudes, dispositions, behaviours, and practices when working online? What might this look like?
  • How can you inform and involve your wider community in discussions regarding cybersafety and responsible online behaviour?

Wellington High School DP, Dominic Killalea explains their Digital Citizenship programme, which begins at Year 9. Dominic also discusses some of the challenges they have faced opening up the network to students and how they have dealt with these challenges.

Principal, Mary Cuming explains the process the Board, teachers, and students worked through to develop a digital citizenship agreement at Apiti School. Mary also talks about how they ensure that students are safe and responsible online.

Develop your classroom practice

Use these practical steps to develop your current school practices and policies around responsible behaviours as successful digital citizens.

  • Gather data to find out how confident teachers and students feel when fostering and managing digital citizenship and cybersafety.
  • Develop school-wide policies, curriculum design, and classroom practices that deliberately integrate digital citizenship (cybersafety, digital literacy, and key competencies). Ask all stakeholders to be involved in developing these policies.
  • Provide professional learning opportunities to enhance teacher understanding of digital citizenship and cybersafety.
  • Talk about how staff and students can model desirable, safe, responsible behaviours and practices as successful digital citizens.
  • Extend messages of cybersafety and digital citizenship to the wider community to encourage greater understanding of their roles in mentoring and managing cybersafety and digital citizenship at home.
  • Look at how you might use NetSafe’s guidance  on developing the whole school approach to digital citizenship.
  • Digital citizenship
    Find out what your students know about responsible online behaviour.
  • Make clear links between the development of key competencies and activity in online spaces.
  • Mentor students to demonstrate the attributes of a confident, connected, and actively involved life-long learner, and provide regular learning opportunities for students to share what they have learned.
  • As a teacher, model powerful and positive behaviour online.
  • Ensure responsible in-school practice aligns with planning documents and school-wide policy, for example having an "Acceptable uses" policy.
  • Involve the wider community so they become more informed about cybersafety and responsible online behaviour.

Digital citizenship modules

Use the self-paced Digital citizenship modules  for professional development. The modules are designed to be flexible, so you can select the content that is relevant to you and your school from each of them. Each module should take approximately four weeks to complete.

The modules cover:

Examples, resources, and ideas supporting teachers and learners with cyber safety, online responsibility, and digital literacy.

Filter by: Primary Secondary

Digital citizenship and cybersafety

Digital citizenship and cybersafety

Sean Lyons, Development Manager from NetSafe, discusses the definition for digital citizenship and how it fits into the National Curriculum.

NetSafe - Learn Guide Protect

NetSafe - Learn Guide Protect

Sean Lyons, from NetSafe, explains the Learn Guide Protect (LGP) website.

Using e-competencies in the classroom

Using e-competencies in the classroom

Teacher Kellie McRobert describes how she incorporated five e-competencies into a unit of work looking at heroes.

e-Competencies in action at the KidsCan Film Festival

e-Competencies in action at the KidsCan Film Festival

At the KidsCan film festival in Nelson 70 students were put together for three days to create films. Kellie McRoberts describes students' development of e-competencies within this project. 

Explaining e-competencies

Explaining e-competencies

Kellie McRobert, e-learning lead teacher, Nayland Primary School, explains e-competencies

Digital citizenship at Apiti School

Digital citizenship at Apiti School

Staff and students from Apiti School explain some of the practical strategies they have put in place to ensure they are safe and responsible digital citizens.

Apiti School – Process for developing a digital citizenship agreement

Apiti School – Process for developing a digital citizenship agreement

Principal, Mary Cuming explains the process the Board, teachers, and students worked through to develop a digital citizenship agreement at Apiti School.

Connecting learning and the community

Connecting learning and the community

Teacher, Nicki Fielder and students from Apiti School explain the different social media tools they use to connect with parents and the wider community.

Digital citizenship and technology use

Digital citizenship and technology use

Deputy principal Miranda Makin describes how Albany Senior High School supports students to be digital citizens.

WHS Digital citizenship programme

WHS Digital citizenship programme

Wellington High School DP, Dominic Killalea explains their Digital Citizenship programme, which begins at Year 9. Dominic also discusses some of the challenges they have faced opening up the network to students and how they have dealt with these challenges. 

Digital citizenship

Digital citizenship

St Hilda's Collegiate keep their Internet as open as possible and manage its usage by educating their students.

BYOD – Benefits for students

BYOD – Benefits for students

Students from Pakuranga College, along with their deputy principal, Billy Merchant, share how using their digital devices to access online resources supports their learning.

Digital citizenship, systems, and infrastructure for BYOD and GAFE

Digital citizenship, systems, and infrastructure for BYOD and GAFE

ICT leader, Fraser Malins explains some key considerations for setting up a safe network that parents and students can access easily at Halswell School. 

Improving student writing using blogs

Improving student writing using blogs

Wairakei School teacher and her student explain why blogging encourages students to produce better quality work because it is being seen and commented on by an authentic audience.

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Key resource
Common Sense media

Digital compass
Teaches students the fundamentals of digital citizenship through animated, choose-your-own-adventure interactive experiences. A resource developed by Common Sense Media.

Digital Technology – Safe and responsible use in schools
General advice for schools about preventing incidents by promoting safe and responsible use of digital technology. It was produced by the cross-sector Online Safety Advisory Group convened by the Ministry of Education. NetSafe is a member of this group and led the content development of this guide.

Staying Safe Online: Cybersafety tips from NZ’s leading online companies
Practical tips that are effective in reducing risk and encouraging safety, to ensure all New Zealanders can use the internet in a positive way. The booklet is available for download in PDF format from the NetSafe website. Developed by NetSafe in association with several major online content providers including: Facebook, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Trade Me, and Twitter.

Teachers and social media
Guidelines and resources to help teachers use social media safely and ethically. It promotes discussion about the Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers/ Ngā Tikanga Matatika mō Ngā Pouako Kua Rēhitatia  and its relationship with social media. The information on the Before You Share  page contains useful information for teachers using social media tools in their work and personal life. A website created by the NZ Teachers Council.

Registered teacher criteria and e-learning (criteria two)
Criteria two provides examples and resources to support using e-learning to actively promote the well-being of all ākonga for students.

Netsafe – Learn Guide Protect
The myLGP website supports the Learn Guide Protect Framework . The site promotes a student-centred approach to teaching and learning about cybersafety and digital citizenship  across the curriculum. Developed by NetSafe, in collaboration with New Zealand teachers.

NetSafe kit for schools

NetSafe kit for schools
A comprehensive programme of cybersafety for schools based upon infrastructure of policies, procedures and use agreements, an effective electronic security system, and a comprehensive cybersafety education programme.

NetSafe – Learn Guide Protect
Sean Lyons, Chief Technology Officer from NetSafe, explains the Learn Guide Protect (LGP) website. LGP is intended to support schools in developing a culture of digital citizenship by providing information and resources for teachers and students in their learning around what it is to be a digital citizen. Sean explains the three layers making up the website and their specific purposes.

Digital citizenship and cybersafety
Sean discusses NetSafe's definition of digital citizenship and how it fits into the National Curriculum. He explains, "the focus of cybersafety has expanded beyond policies and procedures to include discussion, action, and teachable moments in the classroom." Students need to build skills and knowledge to effectively manage cyber challenges themselves, and become confident and successful digital citizens.

Free, self-paced learning modules for personal or staff professional development. The modules are designed to be flexible, so you can select the content that is relevant to you and your school from each of them. Each module should take approximately four weeks to complete.

Digital citizenship modules

The modules cover:


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