Digital Citizenship: Building empathy and dealing with conflict online 

What does it mean to be a digital citizen?

Being a digital citizen is about working to ensure you are contributing to the health and well-being of your communities. How are you contributing to a positive culture online?

Four categories:

  1. Empathy and Community
  2. Positive Technology Use
  3. Sharing Information
  4. Ethics and Privacy

Digital Citizenship: Building empathy and dealing with conflict online                                                                                                      

When you’re online, it can be hard to remember that there’s a human being on the other side of the screen. Sometimes, people say things online that they would never say in real life. Because of this, it’s important to take extra steps to be empathetic.

Online empathy tips:

  1. Watch how you’re feeling.

We don’t always realize how we’re feeling when we’re communicating online. Listen to your body! Is your heart racing? Are you holding your breath? Are your muscles tense? If so, it's time to get offline for a while.

  1. Take a break before you respond.

If you aren’t feeling cool, calm, and collected, take a break before you respond. Take some deep breaths and take time away from the screen. You may feel differently after some time and space to cool off.

  1. Work it out face to face.

If you know this person IRL (in real life), try to work things out face-to-face. Remember that other people can't tell how you're feeling online either, so it's easy for drama to blow up.

  1. Imagine they’re next to you.

Remember that the people we talk to and play with online are real. Even if you don’t know them, try to imagine the person you’re talking to is with you before you respond online.

  1. Don’t have your friends back you up.

Getting the same message over and over again – even if it's from your friends taking your side in an argument – can make angry feelings a lot more intense. It can also make something that starts as drama spread and turn into a much bigger conflict.

  1. Do talk about how you’re feeling.

It’s important to make sure get help and support when things are bothering you online, so talk it out with someone you know and trust.

Just because something happens online, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.