The Fostering Digital Citizenship program seeks to study and promote communication norms and good practices on the use of and about the use of digital and emerging technologies. Is aimed to, on the one hand, promoting positive development experiences for children and adolescents, and on the other, make it possible to harness the democratic potential of new technologies for people’s civic engagement and the effective enjoyment of rights in digital society.
We also seek to strengthen the bonds between people, their communities and their institutions in this new digital scenario. Therefore, it is crucial to develop skills for creative and responsible production, and critical consumption, of digital media content.
In this context, the program seeks to study the relationship of the new generations and their families with digital technologies. It intends to promote appropriate behavior practices, especially in relation to evaluating and sharing content and data online, while also aiming to generate healthy and beneficial strategies that support and contribute to the development of children and adolescents as responsible, creative citizens who gradually acquire autonomy in a space that is increasingly digital.
The specific purpose of the Fostering Digital Citizenship program is to generate a community of good practices between academia, the media and the school community, in order to reinforce the potential of the digital world for the proper exercise of citizenship. The program is developed based on three lines of action aimed at the stakeholders of the school community: parents and guardians, students, and educators.
The program began three years ago. One of its main instruments has been the development of training courses aimed at school teachers, in which more than 1,600 teachers have participated and 570 have been certified.
Its financing has been achieved by applying to and obtaining grants from the US Embassy (2020-21), and the contribution of telecommunications company Entel (2022) as a development partner of the initiative.
Three specific objectives derive from this general objective, in line with the dimensions that make up digital citizenship:
In the past, responsible citizenship meant both participating in public life by fulfilling civic duties (being informed, voting, respecting the laws), and taking part in and contributing to the industrial economic-productive system. Technological advances make life easier in many ways, but at the same time, they create challenges in these areas of citizenship that this program wants to help address:
Digital technologies, especially social media, allow people to express themselves on any issue and organize themselves to act accordingly. However, traditional democratic institutions have conservative structures and practices with limited and rigid spaces for civic engagement, which causes individuals and institutions to be at odds regarding what it means to be a citizen. In addition, institutions worldwide are currently going through historically low levels of credibility and trust.
Fostering Digital Citizenship investigates democratic innovations and puts them into practice to build a bridge between citizens and governance institutions through digital technologies.
People have a keen ability to detect novel information in the environment that surrounds us, and a strong tendency to share it with others to whom it may be useful. Social media algorithms catalyze and accelerate the transmission of content that, by virtue of being new, generates more traffic. This relationship is exploited perversely by groups and individuals who create false content (disinformation) or try to manipulate public opinion to advance their political or ideological purposes. This relationship is not framed by ethical or professional standards of the traditional news media, creating many obstacles in reaching an informed and evidence-based discussion.
Fostering Digital Citizenship seeks to develop skills for both critical consumption and responsible production of digital content. At the same time, it seeks strategies to emphasize the role of journalism in the digital age.