A cyber citizen utilizes technology in an appropriate manner including etiquette, communication, education, access, commerce, responsibility, rights, safety and security. It is important to be cyber aware: back up your digital files, create strong passwords, post only appropriate comments and control privacy settings.


Cell phones

Cyberbullying involves the use of technologies to display behavior that harms another. Through email, instant messaging, text messaging and social networking sites, hurtful messages can be posted and shared.

  • Do not respond or retaliate to inappropriate communication.
  • Save the messages and note the date and time.
  • Utilize the blocking feature in social networking sites, email or instant messaging. This will keep unwanted correspondence from occurring again. You can also block numbers on your cell phone or change your personal phone number. Only give out your phone number to those you trust.
  • Notify the provider of inappropriate behavior by activating the "abuse" tool available on many sites.
  • Contact a trusted adult, teacher, school counselor or parent. Further assistance is available here.
  • Additional resour​ces:

Plagiarism is the use of another's work as your own. With the Internet, all material is copyrighted unless it states otherwise. Such material includes, but is not limited to, images, music, text and videos. The following tips will help encourage ethical cyber citizenship.

Online gaming provides the opportunity to play games from a computer or other device like a Wii or PlayStation. Some consoles have a social element, as users can play anyone from around the world. Chatting, IM and other social tools exist within these games.

  • Check to see if the game has moderators.
  • Do not accept downloads from strangers including cheat programs. These programs often have virus or malware that can harm your computer.
  • Be a good sport - what you say online should be appropriate. Do not respond to bullying comments.
  • Additional resources:

Instant Messaging & Email
Instant messaging (IM) allows users to correspond online with others. IM can occur through a mobile device or computer with Internet access. Similar to text messaging, IM allows users to correspond in brief text. Popular IM platforms include iMessage and Meebo.

Email also allows users to interact online. Follow the common email usage tips below.

Social Networking
Social networking websites provide a social atmosphere by allowing users to share personal information. Popular sites include Facebook, Google+ and Twitter with similar elements including status updates, photo share, friend list or followers, chat, gaming and internal messaging/email. Most social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook are intended for those ages 13 and older. Learn more here.

Additional resources:


  • Privacy settings - Keep social networking accounts private.​
  • Password – Do not share your password with others.
  • Permission - Ask permission before posting/sharing any photos or videos of others.
  • Personal information – Do not post personal information, including location, age and phone number.
  • Ability to block – Block inappropriate users from viewing or posting to your user profile.
  • Inappropriate use – Report or flag inappropriate comments, photos or posts to the SNS.
  • Interpretation – Sarcasm and humor are not always interpreted the same way in text as they are in-person.
  • Control – Once a photo or message is posted on the Internet or shared through social media, you lose control of the content. Others can repost and share the content with a wider audience.
  • Selectivity - When accepting friends to view your account, make sure you know them in-person.


Twitter is a social networking tool allowing users to post information in 140 characters or less. Tweets may include photos, links, videos and other media.

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Private vs. Public Accounts
All Twitter accounts are public unless a user changes the settings to private. When an account remains public, anyone can view tweets. Private accounts allow users to determine who can view or follow their tweets. A Twitter account is not needed to view other public Twitter accounts. Note: If a user changes an account to private, past tweets remain public. With a private account, others must ask permission to follow and tweets cannot be retweeted. Tweets will not appear in a search engine as well.

Retweeting a tweet from another account allows those who follow you to view it. When retweeting, you can add additional comments in the message if you choose.

Twitter users can follow other Twitter accounts, as well as gain followers to their personal accounts. Once a tweet is posted, followers will receive the message on their home Twitter feed.

Direct Messages
Direct messages are private between the sender and recipient.

Other Twitter users can mention you in a Tweet by posting "@" and your username. View your ​mentions by choosing Connect in the top toolbar and clicking Mentions.​


Instagram is an app allowing users to easily share photos through the app and other SNS. Not only can users upload and edit photos, they can follow and view other accounts, provide comments and repost photos.

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SnapChat is an app that allows users to take photos with text and send those messages to friends. The message will appear for a designated amount of time and then self-destruct. While the sender may believe the message will self-destruct, the recipient does have the opportunity to take a screenshot of the photo and save it before it disappears. The company states the sender will receive notice if the recipient takes a screenshot. However, there are several ways to avoid SnapChat sending a notification. Be sure to only send appropriate photos and messages via SnapChat.

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Digital Footprint refers your online reputation. Websites visited, comments posted and photos shared combine to create a permanent digital record. The permanent record gives anyone, including employers and college recruiters, information about you - good and bad.

Digital footprint statistics

  • 92 percent – toddlers who have a footprint by the age of 2 from parents posting photos, creating email accounts and posting YouTube videos of their children.
  • 78 percent - employers who use search engines to screen potential employees.
  • 63 percent - employers who use social media like Facebook to learn more about applicants.
  • Additional resources: