Digital Ethics Audit

7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities. (ISTE Standards for Coaches 7: Digital Citizen Advocate)

I interviewed C. Wardlaw, a director of NQA Childcare Center and an Early Childhood Education professor. I approached this interview with the goal of understanding the perspective of an early childhood educator on using and implementing digital tools and going through the thinking process together. I experienced the role of a Digital Citizen Advocate, explaining digital citizenship and things to consider when using technology. I provided Ribble’s nine components of digital citizenship for better understanding (Ribble & Miller, 2013). We both agreed that educators play a significant role in a child’s life and can make an enormous impact. Therefore, we need early intervention to educate students about technology use. This project served the purpose of inspiring and encouraging the use of technology.


  • Start a conversation with colleagues about digital citizenship, identify the barriers, and discuss ideas and how to implement them.

7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.

The interviewee brought up two vital points during the interview; the importance of teaching social skills through personal interactions and parents’ involvement in educating technology use. She addressed the concern of how the use of technology can negatively affect social interactions and ‘too much’ exposure to technology could harm the children, especially when parents and teachers use them to just ‘quiet’ the children. She would consider using technology in the classroom if it is developmentally appropriate, using no more than an attention span of 10-15 minutes for younger children, and under the supervision and monitoring of teachers. The importance of the teacher being in control of the learning experience was emphasized. As digital citizens, our aim is to partner and find a healthy balance in their use of technology. Therefore, moderation and appropriately limiting screen time are essential topics. According to recent research by Radesky, a child development specialist at Boston Medical Center, toddlers as young as 18 months can begin learning fundamental concepts from media if they use it with an adult. However, the guideline recommends that children under five should only spend an hour a day using technology (Edwards & Fox, 2016). Removing uncertainty and fear through education and involving parents in taking action is a critical part of digital citizenship. The interviewee devised practical ideas to educate students, parents, and educators. I especially liked the idea of an educational event, inviting parents and kids to learn through hands-on experiments. Educators are trusted sources for parents, and we must build a solid network to work together for the sake of students.


  • Provide resources to parents through emails, blogs, and monthly newsletters. Keep the communication going.
  • Holding an event with a specialist to educate teachers, students and parents. Encourage parents to become models in using technology at home for their children.

7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.

As the interview continued, the interviewee emphasized the need for educators to “research and do the hard work” to validate digital tools. This goes well with our efforts to support educators and students to critically examine the sources. Educators must devise a plan and specific purpose for using technology instead of jumping into it with the underlying assumption that if many people use it, it must be safe. To teach students to use technology properly, teachers must have ‘digital literacy’ as well as ‘digital wisdom’ (Prensky, 2013).


  • Educate the teachers, and set a day to examine the sources of media and digital tools used in the classroom.

7d: Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.

The interviewee mentioned the need to expose students to technology to make them learn but must teach them how to ‘navigate’ first. She compared the students’ experience with technology as going into an unknown place. There is a need to do research, know if there is any danger, and have a map to navigate safely. The role of educators is to know the risk and guide students to understand the responsibility and consequences so that they can make informed decisions.


  • Install a monitoring program for children to safeguard them from potential online harm and educate parents and students about possible risks.

I organized the interview with Mrs. Wardlaw according to ISTE standards for Coaches 7: Digital Citizen Advocate to demonstrate that the goal of the interview was to promote digital citizenship. During the interview, the interviewee recognized some issues and came up with possible ideas to implement, which I listed under ‘Tips.’ As the interviewee emphasized, using technology is inevitable; however, we must have a purpose and clear plan to bring a positive outcome. There is a trade-off for connection, knowledge, and convenience we get from technology. Yes, we must handle it with caution. However, because there is a risk, just avoiding it is not a solution. We must be more proactive in preparing ourselves and students, and parents must be part of the digital educational plan. At the end of the interview, it was encouraging to see that the interviewee realized the need to teach students about digital citizenship at an early age.


Erika Edwards and Maggie Fox (2016, Oct. 21), Digital Devices Ok Even for Toddlers, Doctors Say. NBC News.

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45

Marc Prensky, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15 


Mission Statement-Digital Leadership

As I start my journey as a digital education leader, I must question what is going to be my driving force and what will be the guiding principles. I see it as building a house, laying a good foundation. First of all, I find a sense of purpose in serving the next generation. I feel responsible for the future they will inherit and for my children and their children. Just as wrong decisions made in the past resulted in the environmental disasters we see now; future generations will have to live in a world created by our mistakes. In this ecosystem or, more like, the food chain, whether you like it or not, you are part of the system, and whatever you do impacts the whole ecosystem (Floridi, 2010). My stand on the use of technology is ‘ambiguity,’ meaning I have doubts and fears (Campbell & Garner, 2016). However, I cannot ignore the reality that we live in, a digital era that the next generation is being raised. It may sound cliché, but there is a struggle between good and evil, even in the digital world. There will always be people who refuse to do good. Regardless of all the risks, we must find ways to maximize the benefit of using technology and take proactive measures to reduce the possible risks. And have a digital leadership in promoting the “use of the internet and social media to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others”(Ribble, 2010).  


Trust in technology can be translated into trust with materials and sources, trust between the provider and users, trust between students and teachers, parents and teachers, parents, and their children, and between communities and government. You gain trust through fulfilling your responsibilities and by being honest with your communications and demeanors. I chose ‘trust’ as one of my values for the community engagement project because, in any type of learning environment, students should be able to put their trust in educators, to act in their best interest. Especially when choosing teaching materials online, educators must consider carefully to ensure the creditability of the source. Is the source created by an expert in the subject you are trying to teach? Is the information most current? Does it have any biased view? As stated in the ISTE standards for Coaches 7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions. Parents trust educators and schools to make decisions to create a safe and healthy digital learning environment. This trust between educators and students creates the ultimate teaching and learning environment and the best outcome for the students. Trust in the two major areas; credibility and safety.  

  • Credibility: can parents trust the school on the source of teaching materials, schools abiding by laws and in compliance,  
  • Safety: online interactions and behaviors, technology usage, protection of privacy 

When you gain trust, you have more freedom and security. Two of the major factors to gain trust is through having responsibility and honesty which are my next two guiding values.  


Just as everyone has civic duties as a citizen, there are also responsibilities in the digital realm as a “digital citizen “(Ribble, 2010). With the recent increase in demand for distance learning, it has become crucial to inform ourselves of the most up-to-date regulations on digital education. As indicated in the ISTE standards for Coaches 7d: Empower educators, leaders, and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect. It is not just about responsibilities in compliance but efforts to help students and educators make wise decisions on what is safe and healthy in the digital learning environment (Prensky, 2013, p138). Our goal is to equip students and educators to become responsible digital citizens and get the most desirable outcome from the use of technology. I have broken down the responsibilities of students, teachers, parents, and communities.  

Responsibilities of Students – Self-control, being respectful, digital literacy, empathy, honesty 

The Pew Research Center’s 2011 report, Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites, indicates that 25% of the respondents said that interaction on a social media site led to a face-to-face argument, 22% said that it ended a friendship, and 13% reported that it made them nervous to attend school the next day. (Ribble & Miller, 2013). Students must understand personal responsibility and recognize the impact of their behaviors.   

Responsibilities of Teachers 

  • Digital accessibility – Ribble cited a widening gap between the impoverished and the wealthy, as 41% of African Americans and Hispanics use computers in the home when compared to 77% of white students. He also emphasized that educators must understand that technology is important for all students, not only those who already have access to it, in order to decrease the digital divide that currently exists (Ribble, 2010). 
  • Digital Literacy – teach students how to use technology 
  • Digital Protection – protection of personal data and privacy, following laws and compliance, having a security system to protect from the harms of viruses and spyware.  
  • Digital Education – examining the sources of media, finding a healthy balance of digital usage, teaching students “electronic standards of conduct or procedure” (Ribble & Miller, 2013), and their rights and responsibilities. 

Responsibilities of parents/community  

  • Support – parents support the educators and teamwork with them for the well-being of a child. Parents set rules and boundaries, cultivating a character to respect others. And support students by becoming role models.  
  • Advocacy – Community efforts to hold social media companies accountable. Become active learners to address the issues keeping online communities healthy. Use technology to improve and solve problems. Become advocate and actively voice concerns for government to do their job. Teamwork with educators and parents in creating healthy digital communities for students.  


ISTE standards for Coaches 7a: Inspire and encourage educators and to address challenges to improve their communities. To achieve this and impact the communities, we must have honest, clear communication. How can we build strong communities on lies and dishonesty? A strong community is built on the foundation of truthfulness. Also, 7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology. Having truly authentic interactions and real experiences leads to quality relationships and networking online. Through honesty, you gain trust and respect, and communities work together to promote healthy ways of using technology. Wikipedia defines ‘honesty’ as “a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.” Honesty takes courage and sometimes sacrifice; however, honesty without respect and a sense of community serves no purpose. “Students need to put a ‘face’ to their postings and realize that they are interacting with real people, not just inanimate laptops or smartphones” (Riddle & Miller, 2013). Being true to yourself and being true to others for the well-being of yourself and others makes you a responsible member of the community. 

  • Expectations for Students – academic integrity, internet usage, creating a true self-image, being honest about mistakes made online to correct behaviors 


Recently there has been a significant shift to move students from digital citizenship to digital leadership to make a greater impact on online interactions. Though digital citizens take a responsible approach to act ethically, digital leadership is a more proactive approach (Ribble & Miller, 2013). Education for the next generation is like sowing seeds. Once I read an article about a man who started to plant trees in the desert. Everyone in his village said he was crazy and that he was wasting his time in vague. But he continued for 20 years, and later, the desert became a forest and protected the village from the issue of soil erosion and sandstorms. We may not see the profound result immediately, but still, we keep sowing seeds of trust, responsibility, and honesty into the digital ecosystem. We will see fully grown digital citizens forming a forest of healthy communities online. Just as Bible puts it, “Those who sow with tears will harvest with joy.” 


Cellini, S. R. (2021, August 13). How does virtual learning impact students in higher education? Brown Center Chalkboard.  

Coiro, J. (2017, August, 29). Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information. EDUTOPIA.  

Common Sense Media. How we rate and review. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from  

Educator Innovator. (May 06,2021). Deepening the ways we Engage youth as (Digital) Citizens 

Heidi A. Campbell and Stephen Carner, “Theology of Technology 101,” Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in a Digital Culture (Baker Academic, 2016), 19-37 

ISTE (International Society for Technology and Education) Standards: Coaches 

Luciano Floridi, Chapter 1 (“The Information Revolution”) and Chapter 8 (“The Ethics of Information”), in Information—A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3-18 and 103-18 

Marc Prensky, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15  

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45 

Ribble, M. (2010). Digital Citizenship in Schools. ISTE.