Shift Happens………

The changing media landscape has given rise to a number of shifts that can be seen to impact on how individuals behave as digital citizens, they include:

  • A shift towards digital forms of communication such as texting, blogs and social networking has increased the need for individuals to be aware of the consequences of leaving a permanent record of their conversation and exchanges. The development of an organisation’s information policy would do well to include guidelines for the personal management of one’s digital footprint. Additionally, individuals should be guided towards caution and made aware of the fact that they have accumulated a traceable record of all of their online exchanges. The importance of being aware of the digital tracks left behind is examined in the video below.

  • The decline of print media coupled with access to a massive global pool of online resources has highlighted the need to develop digital literacy skills so that individuals can learn how to evaluate online resources in order to determine the accuracy of content. Ribble (2011, p.26) defines Digital Literacy as “The process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology”. However, information policy should not only include technology education, there should also be instruction on appropriate and inappropriate use as well as guidelines for evaluation of online resources.
  • “Nearly 80 percent of Australian children under 10 years of age use social networks” Battersby (2013) This shift towards a younger demographic of online users highlights a need for an organisation’s information policy to include guidelines for appropriate digital etiquette. Clear rules concerning respectful online behaviour that addresses issues such as cyberbullying, and using inflammatory language should be outlined.
  • The internet has provided access to a huge global pool of content and although the shift has been towards sharing information, the intellectual property of others should be respected. Information policy should steer individuals towards an understanding of how to respect the creative rights of others and as a means to combat digital piracy. The Infographic below illustrates the damaging impact of Digital Piracy.


  • A shift towards digital commerce has highlighted the need for individuals to exercise caution when providing sensitive information such as bank account details and credit card numbers when making online purchases. Information policy should include guidelines for protection of personal data and information about safe and responsible ways to purchase good online.


Anson, A. (2012, March 15) Online Piracy Statistics 2012 [Infographic]. Retrieved from        

Battersby, L. (2012, August 2). Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from

Digital Natives. (2008, August 13). Digital Dossier [Youtube video]. Retrieved from

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools. ISTE pp.15-44 Retrieved from


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