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Defining and Measuring Youth Digital Citizenship

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
1 page
In order to improve youth’s education in “digital citizenship”, the current article argues for a narrower focus on (1) respectful behavior online and (2) online civic engagement. Using this definition, a “digital citizenship” scale was developed and assessed with a sample of 979 youth, aged 11–17 years old.
The study found that online respect scores decreased with youths’ age, and scores on both subscales were higher among girls than boys. Both online respect and civic engagement were negatively related to online harassment perpetration and positively related to helpful bystander behaviors, after controlling for other variables. Implications of the study findings for developing and evaluating digital citizenship educational programs are discussed. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) supported measurement of both constructs: online respect (7 items, Cronbach’s alpha = .92) and online civic engagement (4 items, Cronbach’s alpha =.70). (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: March 1, 2015