Coffs Harbour Public School Blog

Courtesy & Honour – Principal:Leonie Buehler

Digital Citizenship

The internet is a little like the proverbial elephant that never forgets. Our digital footprints are not like the footprints on the beach, washed away by the next wave or rising tide. Rather they are like footprints left to dry in the wet concrete of the footpath. Permanent.
The Digital Citizen will follow six tenets of citizenship.

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Protect yourself
  3. Respect others
  4. Protect others
  5. Respect Intellectual Property
  6. Protect Intellectual property.

Respect yourself

This is being a virtuous citizen. It is too easy to present yourself in an unflattering or even inappropriate manner. Respecting yourself starts with the name you use to present yourself. Never put your full name on the internet.



  • Select names and images that portray you in a positive light.
  • Do not post any information that you would not want your mother, grandparent or employer to see.

Apply ethical approaches like:

  • I will show respect for myself through my actions.
  • I will select online names that are appropriate,
  • I will consider the information and images that I post online.
  • I will not be obscene.

Protect yourself
Considering what you write, is not limited to social networking sites. Blogs, wikis, twitter and instant messaging services allow you to express your opinions
Many, many, many of us will at some stage find ourselves as the targets of bullying and online abuse. It is crucial that you don’t try and deal with it on your own. Tell someone you trust, a friend, parent, teacher, employer, counsellor. Report the abuse to the moderator of the site. Don’t respond to it. Record it for evidence.



  • Think about the information you are posting, what will it mean to an outsider viewing it? What will it mean without the prior information your audience (friends, blog subscribers, twitter followers etc) may have?
  • Don’t publish a schedule of your activities
  • Set the privacy settings on your tools to control access to your updates, posts or profile.
  • Be sure of the facts you post.

Remember this adage
Send in haste, repent at leisure
Its easy to send an email or post a message in a moment of passion, but once sent or posted its almost impossible to delete. Think before you post.

  • Use ethical approaches like:
  • I will ensure that the information, images and materials
  • I post online will not put me at risk.
  • I will not publish my personal details, contact details or a schedule of my activities.
  • I will report any attacks or inappropriate behaviour directed at me.
  • I will protect passwords, accounts and resources.

Respect others

As a responsible cyber or digital citizen, we model respect for other people. In the past, gossip was limited to your immediate field of friends and acquaintances, but with the advent and uptake of digital technologies the potential audience for gossip and innuendo is global. The ease with which anyone with internet access can publish is incredible. Publishing in a digital medium is as simple as typing or speaking. Anyone can set up and publish a blog in three or four minutes and then the audience is immense.
Flaming is the term used to describe a post or thread that attacks a person. A good general rule to follow is:
If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.


  • If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.
  • Don’t forwarded it, don’t visit it don’t condone it.
  • Teach and talk about real relationships.

Use statements and ethical guidelines like:

  • I will show respect to others.
  • I will not use electronic mediums to flame, bully, harass or stalk other people.
  • I will show respect for other people in my choice of websites,
  • I will not visit sites that are inappropriate.
  • I will not abuse my rights of access and I will not enter other people’s private spaces or areas.

Protect others

Every social networking site, instant messaging tool, wiki, blog and social media has a report abuse contact. USE IT! We can protect others by not tolerating and reporting behaviour that is inappropriate or unacceptable.
Don’t forward emails that are derogatory, delete them.


  • Have a policy of zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour, Report abuse.
  • Don’t forward or pass on unacceptable material – delete it. Stop the trail at your trash.
  • Consider the other persons feelings and act accordingly.
  • Use statements like this – I will protect others by reporting abuse, not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications; and not visiting sites that are degrading, pornographic, racist or inappropriate.

Respect Intellectual Property

There is so much information out there, there are so many amazing materials to share and so many people have given their precious time for free. This facet of the digital citizen is to respect or honour Intellectual property. Honouring intellectual property is not hard and requires little more than common courtesy, like:

  • Citing the source of images and information
  • Giving credit when credit is due.
  • Asking permission before you use them
  • Linking to websites rather than downloading and reposting
  • Sharing your own materials


  • I will request permission to use resources.
  • I will suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media etc.
  • I will validate information.
  • I will use and abide by the fair use rules.

Protect Intellectual Property

The term piracy conjures up ideas of sailing ships, eye patches and swash buckling adventure. However the reality of piracy is simple;
No matter what face you put on it, no matter whether it is software, music or movies PIRACY is THEFT!
Bit torrents, limewire, Kazaa have made the theft of music, movies and programs as simple as clicking a mouse.
Most of us would never consider walking into a video store and stealing a DVD and yet we use programs that do exactly that. The impact of piracy is often seen to be distant and excused by comments like “Well, they are paid millions for that”, but the reality is that piracy costs the recording artists and software producers billions of dollars each year, it discourages creativity and increases prices.
It also has an effect in your own neighborhood, it directly decrease employment. When movies or music is stolen by being downloaded your local music or video store loses sales and this undermines the viability of the business and the livelihoods of the owner and employees.
Piracy discourages creativity, piracy takes away the opportunity for emerging artists to succeed.
There are alternatives. The creative commons licensing agreements have made available millions of images, masses of media, libraries of books that are available accessible and free. It is worth considering, when you publish your works, using the creative commons license. Creative commons is a license or statement of use that encourages people to share. Under the creative commons license you can use set the level of rights a user has to your intellectual property. Visit to find out more.



  • I will request to use the software and media others produce.
  • I will use free and open source alternatives rather than pirating software.
  • I will purchase, license and register all software.
  • I will purchase my music and media, and refrain from distributing these in a manner that violates their licenses.
  • I will act with integrity.



Article adapted from Andrew Churches


Here are some more ideas for using your blog.

Many thanks to Arncliff PS for the information on this page.



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