Digital law

This article provides information on current issues related to digital law. The Webpage gives an overview of what digital law is, types of violations and their consequences, and resources for teachers to teach digital law.  

What is digital law?

Digital law can be defined as the legal rights and restrictions governing technology use. In today's world, many people are not responsible digital citizens. They are criminals, breaking the law, either knowing or not knowing, what is appropriate or inappropriate technology use. For example, many people think that it is okay to download music without paying for it. This is illegal though and there can be serious consequences if caught. You can pay a hefty fine or even go to jail. Other violations include illegal file sharing sites, pirating software, creating viruses, hacking into systems or networks, stealing someones identity, and copyright infringement. In order to create a functioning 21st century global society with responsible digital citizens, students need to be taught and informed of these violations. 

Types of violations and consequences

Illegal file sharing: the sharing of files between people using computers connected to the internet. The term covers both the making available of the file (uploading), for instance on a file sharing service such as the YouTube to MP3 Website, and the downloading of that file from the internet to a computer. 

Creating viruses: A software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer.

Hacking: Unauthorized use of computer and network resources.

Stealing someone identity: When someone pretends to be someone else in order to access their personal information such as social security number, credit card, etc. in order to obtain resources or benefits.

Copyright infrigiment: The act of violating any of a copyright's exclusive rights given to them by the federal Copyright Act. 

Teaching digital law

Schools should consider creating courses on digital citizenship. Middle school students should be required to take this course. It will be a foundation for the rest of their school career that they can use for the rest of their life. Realistically though, I believe schools still do not understand the importance of this subject. So before teachers begin a semester, they should always make sure students understand their rights as digital citizens. A quick pre-assessment such as a You Think You Know or a generated quiz online can give teachers a good idea of who does and does not understand their rights as digital citizens. Teachers can even go a step further and teach specific contents of digital citizenship, such as digital law. Personally, I think digital law is the most important aspect of digital citizenship. Everyday you hear news of someone stealing someones identity, creating viruses,  and copyright infringement lawsuits. We all even know someone who downloads music illegally. To stop this ongoing battle, we must teach younger generations about digital law. Students are 21st century learners, surrounded by new technology that they use everyday. If they do not know the digital law, they are most likely breaking it. Students and teachers can view the resources up top to learn about digital law. Also, below are a few resources integrated into a lesson or shared with students to help teach this important concept. 


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