What Concepts Does Digital Citizenship Training Include?

In EYNCRIN we focus on seven key concepts:

  • Empathy
  • How the Internet works
  • Understanding user data
  • Practicing digital literacy
  • Acknowledging the digital divide
  • Practicing digital wellness
  • Securing digital devices

​These 5 competencies assist and support our youth trainers in teaching about digital citizenship: 

1. Inclusive 

I am open to hearing and respectfully recognizing multiple viewpoints and I engage with others online with respect and empathy. 

2. Informed 

I evaluate the accuracy, perspective, and validity of digital media and social posts. 

3. Engaged 

I use technology and digital channels for civic engagement, to solve problems and be a force for good in both physical and virtual communities. 

4. Balanced 

I make informed decisions about how to prioritize my time and activities online and off. 

5. Alert 

I am aware of my online actions, and know how to be safe and create safe spaces for others online.


A recent survey revealed that teenagers and young adults spend more time on the internet than watching TV. This has raised a number of concerns about how internet use could impact cognitive abilities. According to a study by Wartella et al., teens are concerned about how digital technologies may have an impact on their health. 

Digital youth can generally be viewed as the test market for the next generation's digital content and services.

Myspace and Facebook have come to the fore in sites where youth participate and engage with others on the internet. However, due to the lack of popularity of MySpace in particular, more young people are turning to websites such as Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. It was reported that teenagers spend up to nine hours a day online, with the vast majority of that time spent on social media websites from mobile devices, contributing to the ease of access and availability to young people.

One of the primary advantages of participating in online debates through digital citizenship is that it incorporates social inclusion.

Citizen-powered democracy can be initiated either through information shared through the web, direct communication signals made by the state toward the public, and social media tactics from both private and public companies. In fact, it was found that the community-based nature of social media platforms allow individuals to feel more socially included and informed about political issues that peers have also been found to engage with, otherwise known as a "second-order effect."

Digital citizenship refers to the responsible use of technology by anyone who uses computers, the Internet, and digital devices to engage with society on any level.  This is why digital citizenship is such a crucial topic to teach today’s young people and youth workers.

Good digital citizenship engages young people and shows them how to connect with one another, empathize with each other, and create lasting relationships through digital tools.

Bad digital citizenship, on the other hand, entails cyberbullying, irresponsible social media usage, and a general lack of knowledge about how to safely use the Internet.

Fortunately, almost all of the requirements to be a good digital citizen can be taught in non-formal youth work settings.

In this spotlight, EYNCRIN explores the concept of digital citizenship, providing a platform for European youth debate with a focus on several key questions:

  • Why does digital citizenship matter?
  • Why has the concept become central in discussions about youth, education, and learning in the 21st century?
  • In a world where the online and offline are increasingly blending, to what extent should we emphasize the role of the “digital” in “digital citizenship”?
  • To what degree do youth feel connected to the term “citizen?”
  • How is the concept of digital citizenship similar to or different from other concepts, such as digital literacy or 21st century skills?
  • How should we approach these concepts to more effectively foster the skills youth need to thrive in today’s society?
  • And to what extent have European and local decision-makers, academics, and educators been successful at incorporating youth voices in the development, implementation, and evaluation of digital citizenship initiatives?​

​The development of digital citizen participation can be divided into two main stages.

1. Through information dissemination, including:
- Static information dissemination, characterized largely by citizens who utilize read-only websites where they take control of data from credible sources in order to formulate judgments or facts. Many of these websites where credible information may be found are provided by the government.
- Dynamic information dissemination - more interactive and involves citizens as well as public servants. Both questions and answers can be communicated, and citizens have the opportunity to engage in question-and-answer dialogues through two-way communication platforms

2. Citizen deliberation, which evaluates what type of participation and role that they play when attempting to ignite some sort of policy change.
- Static citizen participants can play a role by engaging in online polls as well as through complaints and recommendations sent up, mainly toward the government who can create changes in policy decisions.
- Dynamic citizen participants can deliberate amongst others on their thoughts and recommendations in town hall meetings or various media sites.

Digital citizenship is the quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns of technology that affect individuals and communities. Basically, it is the behaviors and attitudes we exhibit when using the technological tools vital to our digital lives. There are many aspects of being a good digital citizen such as recognizing your digital footprint, being safe online, and how to effectively communicate in our technological age.

The EYNCRIN Digital Citizenship Hub provides a range of youth trainings with an overview of personal responsibilities in respectful and ethical behavior using digital resources as it pertains to personal and workplace digital communications, cyberbullying, and digital footprint. Trainees learn about these topics through different participatory activities, interactive eLearning lessons, formative and summative assessments, and more.