Importance of Digital Literacy for Kids
This pandemic has badly made us realize the importance of the internet and digital world in our life. Now it has become a permanent fixture of adult and kids lives. But we can’t deny the dark side of the digital world, And kids can be prey to its dangers easily. Kids use the digital world in many ways such as: playing video games, using social media, taking online classes, doing research and much more. And during the whole process they may be encountered with unforeseen danger like cyberbullying, threats, cyber harassment etc. And parents couldn’t possibly be available all the time to secure kids. It is the responsibility of parents, teachers and leaders to teach kids how to use it effectively and responsibly.
Here comes the idea of digital literacy. Digital literacy is not only about sending emails, using social media, searching on the internet, the concept is beyond that.
The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as,
“The ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”
Hiller Spires, a professor of literacy and technology at North Carolina State University,
explains digital literacy as having three buckets
- Finding and consuming digital content
- Creating digital content
- Communicating or sharing it.
More simply we can say, Digital literacy is about the ability to search, use and create information online that is reliable and useful. It also teaches limitation of technology and understanding of the associated danger with it and the precautions to use technology. With the advancement of technology, digital literacy for us, especially for kids has become more important than ever. Digital literacy requires critical thinking and cognitive skills to effectively evaluate, find, create, communicate and use information. We should teach our kids the importance of digital literacy as early as possible. The kids who are digitally literate know how to use and consume digital content responsibly. Digital literacy will also benefit them in their career later on.
In this blog we will understand the importance of Digital Literacy
IMPORTANCE OF DIGITAL LITERACY
Thanks to technology that makes communication easier and faster. There are a lot of ways to communicate with parents, teachers, friends and family. The biggest challenge of digital literacy is the way of communication. Digital literacy teaches us how to communicate digitally. Here are a lot digital communication channels such as
- Social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, twitter etc.)
- Video conferencing (Skype, Zoom, Due etc.)
- Instant messaging (Messenger, WhatsApp etc.)
Digital communication becomes a vital part of our lives. The parents are responsible to teach the effective and proper use of communication channels. We should teach kids how to communicate, what to share (comments, pictures, videos) and what not to share (fake news, inappropriate content, etc.) while using digital platform. Also teach them the consequence of false statements.
Digital literacy is incomplete without providing the knowledge of internet safety to kids. Internet safety is an act to protect from viruses, malware, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and internet scam. Billions of people are connecting with the web every day and anyone can be prey to cyber scams. Teach kids how to use the internet safely. Tell them social media sites are the biggest places of cyberbullying or cyber harassment. Give them a knowledge of bad and good content and the consequences of their consumption. Aware kids with basic terminologies like, strong password and its danger, internet ethics, viruses, malicious emails etc. Parents should keep an eye on their kid’s internet activity, what type of content they are consuming, who they meet, how they interact on social media, and their changing behaviors.
Making Better Decisions
There is a lot of information available with one click. But all the accessible information is not valuable/ worthwhile. Digital literacy teaches reliability and authentication of facts. It focuses on evaluation of resources that enhance the decision making skills, which is a major part of 21st century technical and soft skills.
The internet is full of knowledge. Parents can guide kids how to use the internet to practice and improve subject knowledge to perform outstanding in the classroom. For example, Kids can learn coding online, practice math problems, learn science concepts etc.
Help in Career Development
Digital literacy is a lifelong skill that helps kids in their future too. In today’s world, the employer prefers the candidate who has a sound knowledge of technology such as software, apps, etc. which are required for the available position. Digital literate kids will perform better than others in their career.
Make Life Convenient
Oh yes! Thanks to Google Maps, it makes our life easier. It is one of the biggest gifts of technology. It is one example of digital literacy. I am aware of it because I know how to use the internet to make life easier. In the same way, parents need to discuss with kids about available solutions such as apps, websites, platforms etc. that make everyday life easier and convenient. Also teach them how to find and evaluate the solution of any problem.
Make Lifelong Learner
Digital literacy is a one time investment for the rest of the life of a kid. With the passage of time, the consumption of technology and the internet is going to be more and more by everyone. Digital literate kids will be aware of new technology and new updates. That gives them a competitive advantage over the other peers, and makes them lifelong learners.
There are a lot of more benefits of having a digitally literate kid. We encourage parents to accept the importance of the digital world in our kid’s life and prepare them for the future and for today as early as possible. Because kids are using technology and the internet with or without your consent. So, it’s better to teach them the best way to adopt new technology and trends.