Digital citizenship

Where can I find information about digital citizenship?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Colour photo of a laptop on a table. There are 2 hands typing on the keyboard. A cup of coloured pencils is in the front right corner.

Image: Digitální hygiena počítače by Marketingjpik on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 26/05/22


Digital citizenship is about the way people use the internet and interact with social media. It includes thinking critically about the things you find online, being safe online by keeping yourself and your personal information safe, and treating others with respect.

The importance of Digital Citizenship

The websites below have good explanations of digital citizenship, what it covers and why is it important for everyone to be good digital citizens.


Netsafe is an online safety organisation that supports and advises parents, schools and young people on how to be safe online while making use of the internet and its opportunities.

  • Search using the keywords 'digital citizenship'.

  • Select Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy to read what it means to be a good digital citizen, the importance of digital literacy and how to think critically about what you read on the internet.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website. This site is supported by the Ministry for Education and the Ministry for Justice, so the information should be reliable.

Services to Schools - National Library of New Zealand

Services to Schools supports schools in New Zealand with their library development, digital literacy and reading material to support reading engagement and curriculum needs.

  • Use the search words 'digital citizenship' in the search bar and look for the link called Developing digital citizenship.

  • This covers key skills, values and behaviours for being a responsible digital citizen and the importance of digital citizenship.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg digital citizenship. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Common Sense Media

This is an overseas website written for parents and teachers, but it has some great information about digital citizenship and digital literacy.

Evaluating websites

It's important to know who wrote the information you are looking at, and why they wrote or created it. There can be a lot of false information on the internet. People can make mistakes when they write, or sometimes people deliberately write or post things that aren't true. Here are some useful tips and guides about how to know if the information we find can be trusted.

Digital literacy - Services to Schools

The National Library has an excellent page about finding, evaluating and creating digital content.

The section How to evaluate digital content explains different ways of doing this, including links to the CRAAP test and other evaluation tools.

How to evaluate websites - University of Waikato

We like this university guide to evaluating websites. This is especially good for finding and evaluating academic information, like information you might be using in a school project.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Fact-checking and 'fake news'

How do you find out if a story you read online is real or not? Some media organisations have a very strong political agenda, and will only publish stories that promote their own views and bias.

People sometimes call true stories 'fake news' if they don't like the truth, so it can be tricky to find out what the truth actually is. There are some good websites out there to help you fact-check things you read to make sure you do not believe or spread false information.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

This is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics.

  • Search for 'fake news' to bring up the topic overview Fake News in Social Media.

  • There are links to newspaper and magazine articles, as well as websites to use to fact-check if something is true or not.

  • This page also explains some of the real-life consequences of spreading fake news.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Help Your Students Spot False News - BBC

This is aimed at teachers of Junior Secondary students, and explores the social, political and economic impact of news reporting.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

European Media Literacy Forum

The European Media and Information Literacy Forum was put together by a range of organisations, including UNESCO. Their aim is to put media and information literacy in schools across Europe. It has a good article about spotting fake news.


Check out some of these books, or ask at your local school or public for other book recommendations.

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