Cyber and Digital Citizenship

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What websites extensions have you encountered in your time on the Internet? Do you think specific websites have to have certain domain extensions? Are you able to buy any domain extension that you want?

Domain Types and Their Purpose

A domain name extension is made up of the letters in a website address that appear after the name of the website. For example, the domain extension of the site www.google.com is .com. Dozens of domain types are available for you to use; the domain types listed below are the ones that are used most often.

.BIZ: This extension is commonly registered for a business website. It is not as common as the .com extension for businesses, but is another option if the .com extension is not available. The .BIZ extension is also less expensive than the .COM extension, which is a bonus.

.COM: The .COM extension is the most commonly used extension on the Internet, and stands for commercial. Most businesses prefer a .com domain name because it is a highly recognized signal that a company has a business presence on the Internet.

.NET: This domain extension was originally created for network-oriented sites, such as Internet service providers’ websites. The .net extension has grown considerably from its original intention. It is still used for ISPs, but it is also used by businesses if the .com extension is not available. An example of a .net website is www.comcast.net.

.ORG: This is short for organization. This website extension was originally created for the websites of nonprofit groups, but today the extension is used for other types of organizations. Schools, communities, open-source developer groups, and even businesses have begun to use the extension. A popular website with a .org extension is www.wikipedia.org.

.MOBI: This domain type is for websites for mobile devices. Many of the companies and organizations that have regular websites will also have separate websites for access on mobile devices. An example of a .mobi website is www.espn.mobi.

.GOV: This domain type is reserved for government websites. All government departments and agencies will have a .gov domain extension. An example of a .gov website is www.whitehouse.gov, which is the website for the White House.

.EDU: This domain type was created for educational institutions, such as colleges and universities. An example of a .edu website is www.pitt.edu. These domain types are assigned by the government.

.MIL: This domain name is reserved for websites dedicated to the United States military. You are not able to buy .mil domain names. An example of a .mil website is www.marines.mil, which is the website of the United States Marine Corps.

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Many more different domain types are available to you, but the ones shown above are the ones that you will find most of the time on the Internet.

Evaluating Digital Information

Publishing on the Internet is not difficult. Blogging sites, social media sites, and message boards allow anyone to post anything about any topic. No longer do you have to be an expert on something before you are able to publish content about it. Considering how cheap and easy it is to buy a domain name, someone could buy a domain called www.greensky.com and publish pages and pages of information about the “fact” that the sky is green, even though that is obviously false.

The trouble is that not all misinformation on the Internet is as easy to spot. It is important to know how you can critically evaluate what you are reading online and determine whether or not it is solid information. You can do this by evaluating the website according to four criteria: accuracy, authority, objectivity, and currentness.

Accuracy: This is how correct the information on the website you are viewing appears to be. Some ways that can help you decide whether or not a site is accurate are:

  • Is there any content on the site about a subject that you already know about, and is that content factual?
  • Are you able to verify the data that is presented on the site?
  • Have the pictures on the site been altered in any way or are they truthful photographs?
  • Is there text somewhere on the site that tells the user that it isn’t a factual site? These pieces of text are called disclaimers and can often be found on sites that are satirical.

Authority: This is how much background and autobiographical information the creator of the website provides to the user or reader. These pieces of information include:

  • Is the author of the website or article provided?
  • Are the author’s qualifications displayed anywhere on the article or website?
  • Are sources provided for the facts that are displayed?
  • Is a security certificate provided? Legitimate sites will be sure to have a secure connection certificate if they plan to ask you for personal information.

Objectivity: An objective website won’t have any outside input to the content of the website. An objective website will have content that is based only on fact and not on anything else. Here are some things to look for when evaluating whether or not a site is objective:

  • Is there advertising anywhere on the website?
  • Does the author of the site have something to gain by offering a certain opinion?
  • Has the author shown bias in previous writings?
  • Is the author providing their point of view or are they speaking for a company or organization?
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Currentness: How up-to-date is the site you are looking at? It is important to evaluate how often the website that you are looking at is updated. Here are some things to look out for.

  • How recently has the site been updated? You don’t want to use a site that hasn’t been updated in years.
  • Check the links on the site. Are the links current and active? If a website isn’t up to date, the links might no longer work or might lead to pages different from what is posted.

Domain extensions are the letters that appear at the end of a web address. Certain domain extensions are restricted for use only on certain types of websites. For example, a regular website developer would not be permitted to use a .mil extension for their website. Only military websites approved by the government are able to use the .mil extension. While most extensions are not as strict as .mil, they each have their own characteristics that make them unique.

Publishing on the Internet is not difficult. Blogging sites, social media sites, and message boards allow anyone to post anything about any topic. No longer do you have to be an expert on something before you are able to publish content about it. Considering how cheap and easy it is to buy a domain name, someone could buy a domain called www.greensky.com and publish pages and pages of information about the “fact” that the sky is green, even though that is obviously false. The trouble is that not all misinformation on the Internet is as easy to spot. It is important to know how you can critically evaluate what you are reading online and determine whether or not it is solid information. You can do this by evaluating the website according to four criteria: accuracy, authority, objectivity, and currentness.

You learned about many different domain extensions in the lesson. Reach each description below and determine which domain extension best suits the scenario.

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Domain Extension Situation
  Internet service providers were among the groups this extension was originally designed for.
Nonprofits were the original expected users of this domain extension.
The University of Pittsburgh would use this extension at the end of its web address.
If you have a business, you might want to use this domain extension.
If you plan for your website to be used on cell phones, you should use this extension.

Click here to see the correct answers!

Watch this video about searching for credible sources, and then make sure to check out the second part about using advanced search.

If you decide that you want to create a website, one of the first decisions that you will have to make is the type of domain extension that you would like to use. Some of the domains you can cross off of the list right away, because they are only assigned by the government to specific types of sites. The rest of the domain names are available for use with your site. How do you know which domain is best for the type of site you are looking for or creating? Click here and watch a video that explains the domain names and gives you information to help you choose which domain extension is best for you.

When you create a website, you are able to give the site pretty much any domain extension that you would like. There are certain restrictions; you can’t use the .gov, .mil, and .edu extensions unless you are creating a website for the government, the military, or an educational institution. Domain extensions such as .net, .org, and .com can be used for any site. The question is, does one domain extension make your site easier to find, and therefore make it more popular? Click here to be taken to a video in which a web developer explains how the domain extension of a site can affect how easy it is to find using a search engine.

A good domain extension doesn’t always mean a good site. It is important that you evaluate any website that you use to make sure that it provides accurate and up-to-date information. The lesson provided some can’t-miss ways of evaluating websites, but click here for one last video that provides further information about how to evaluate digital information.

Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by EssayPro