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IGF2012 - WS 62 - Digital Citizenship: Can It Translate in the Face of Language
Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

IGF2012 - WS 62 - Digital Citizenship: Can It Translate in the Face of Language

Please find the workshop at: Over the last decade and a half, a tremendous amount of attention has been placed on "online safety" and protecting the "vulnerable" online, i.e., youth and the elderly. We think the term Digital Citizenship includes but necessarily goes much farther than Internet safety. In keeping with the 21st century's highly mobile and user-driven Internet, it's proactive and participatory, modeling positive behavior toward fellow participants of digital environments and today's networked world. Digital Citizenship needs to be empowering, instilling a sense of agency and stakeholdership in today's Internet users, including youth. When all users of participatory media understand their key role in making experiences with digital technology positive, the protective properties of digital citizenship will become clear. During last year's panel at IGF Nairobi, we asked if Digital Citizenship could scale in developing countries. While we had a healthy discussion, including some eye opening, yet informative perspectives from youth -- e.g., "maybe 'participant' is a better word than 'citizen'" and "it's not relevant to our generation yet" -- it was clear that there is much work and consensus-building to do to bring to Internet users of all ages and cultures awareness of their vital role. Youth in both developed countries and developing countries share one common experience that, fortunately, supports the notion of Digital Citizenship: they're the most active users of social, or participatory, media and culture. And, while the youth of developing countries are often first going online on the mobile platform, youth in developed countries' use of social media and the Net is increasingly mobile. Youth everywhere are now accessing the Internet in ways that challenge the early constructs of Internet safety instruction in developed countries. Internet-safety and digital literacy training increasingly need to move past the Internet safety lessons of 1995-2005 in the developed world. Digital Citizenship is the concept that translates Internet safety for the new paradigm of this digitally networked world in which Internet users in virtually every country find themselves. Over the course of the next few years, the Internet will continue these transformations. Social networking is here to stay, and accessing the Web via mobile devices will continue to climb. The coming of the multi-internet as a result of new Internationalized Domain Names will bring online millions of new users of all ages every year. How can we help Digital Citizenship efforts? Does the term "Digital Citizens" translate -- in both developed and developing countries? Our Workshop will focus on this question.
Arzu Geybullayeva
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