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Defining and Measuring Youth Digital Citizenship

NCJ Number
New Media & Society Volume: 18 Issue: 9 Dated: 2016 Pages: 2063-2079
Date Published
17 pages

Since the term "'digital citizenship"' currently covers a broad range of concepts, this article proposes 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, and 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). Online respect scores decreased with youth age, and scores on both subscales were higher among girls than boys. Both online respect and civic engagement were negatively related to the perpetration of online harassment and positively related to helpful bystander behaviors, after controlling for other variables. The implications of the study findings for developing and evaluating digital citizenship educational programs are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2016