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The 7 Core Characteristics for Teaching Digital Citizenship




How Children Succeed is an AMAZING book by Paul Tough that maps out the ingredients for successful children. This book inspired the list of characteristics that can be taught in your classroom.


There is no particular order to the characteristics or emphasis because they all play a key role and are interconnected.



1. Self-control - The ability to control your emotions, desires or reactions in order to achieve a goal.

How to explain it: 

Your friends may want you to respond to their group chat during class or you may want to play a bit longer on the iPad when your turn is supposed to be 10 minutes, but self-control involves being able to stop, think and act appropriately even if you don't want to.

2. Social Awareness - The ability to get along with others and to get people to get along with you.

How to explain it: 

You may not always agree with everyone and you may not want to be everyone's friend but it is important that you respect others and their opinions. This also includes considering how your posts or digital activity may affect other people.

3. Resourcefulness - The ability to overcome problems with what is available.

How to explain it:

Sometimes your computer might breakdown, the wifi might go out or your phone might die. You have to find a way to finish the assignment or continue the activity, which could mean getting a charger, using someone else's computer or asking for help. Use your resources!

4. Resilience - The ability to recover, or be successful again, when something goes wrong.

How to explain it:

When things do not go as planned, try again or try something new, but do not give up!

5. Ambition - A strong desire and determination to achieve success.

How to explain it: 

Come prepared and ready to learn. Even if something is new to you, give it a try and follow through with what you started.

6. Professionalism - The ability to use skill, good judgement and appropriate behavior in a given situation.

How to explain it:

When you use the internet, people can see what you do and what you post. Think about what you are doing before you do it. Would you be okay with your parents seeing it? Your future boss?  

7. Integrity - The ability to do the right thing, be honest and use your morals.

How to explain it:

When the teacher or an adult is not watching you, you are on task and you are doing the right thing. That might include not texting when you're supposed to be participating in class or standing up to bullying and speaking to an adult.

Feel free to download this poster and display it in your classroom!

What characteristics do you use to teach digital citizenship? Are there any lesson plans you think would work well with this?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Comment below!