We all know what is literacy. It is the ability to read and write for an individual. But what is digital literacy? In this blog, let’s understand what is digital literacy and why it is important for kids.
Digital literacy is the ability to learn and work with the help of technology. It’s like having the skills and knowledge to access information digitally. It can be done with the help of the internet, smartphones, or social media.
For example, you are digitally literate if you can use the internet as a resource. Using a web browser, sending an email, editing a video, or coding. All these come under the same roof.
Most of the students today have access to technology. And using it effectively with the help of teachers and parents is very important.
To become digitally literate, knowledge of some basic skills is a must. Like computational thinking skills which give you the ability to think like computers. Or critical thinking skills that give you a direction to what you should think.
Digital literacy is important for students from any grade. Whether he/she is a primary student, high school, college, or university student. Knowing how to properly use digital technologies helps them a lot in their academics and in building other soft skills.
In this blog, we are going to decode what digital literacy is, and why is it important for kids. Read on…
Importance of Digital Literacy
Communication is now more advanced than ever. There are newer ways to communicate with people. We have technologies like emails, text messages, video conferencing, and whatnot. All these are adding up to provide a better communication experience.
Kids must know the ways to communicate positively with the help of technology. It makes them much more aware of the world they reside in.
Communication plays a key role in every student’s life. And it is as important when they are interacting with computers or smartphones. It means when a kid is involved in digital activity, the student should be able to properly communicate with the technology.
When you teach them coding or any other digital skill, their communication skill enhance.
As teachers and parents, we can guide them on how to communicate properly, so that they have a positive and safe social presence.
Here are some ways to enhance digital communication skills for your kids:
- Using Social Media to communicate with friends and family. (Facebook. Instagram, Twitter)
- Instant messaging (Messenger, Whatsapp)
- Video Conferencing (Skype, Duo, Zoom)
- Video-Sharing (Youtube)
- Reading (Blogs)
And the list goes on and on…
2. Practical Skills
With digital literacy, you learn practical skills. But how? With the help of a computer, you learn by doing.
For example, when you find a problem on your smartphone or PC, you search for solutions online. This helps in troubleshooting. And in the future, whenever a kid gets into any problem, he/she will always look for solutions himself.
Doing things practically also keeps you in the hold of a skill. Like if you learn a new skill, say playing the guitar, if you learn it by practicing instead of just watching videos then you are going to learn better.
3. Internet Safety
Like we discussed in our previous blog, ‘Cyber Safety for Kids‘, it is very crucial to keep kids safe online. Using digital gadgets and knowing it’s limitations makes you well aware of their adverse effects.
As we know, literacy means the ability to read and write for a better tomorrow. Digital literacy ensures that what we consume aims to bring change in a good and safe way.
Ensuring online safety and becoming digitally literate at the same time is easy. You need not spend a lot of time thinking about how. These measures can keep you safe online:
- Determine the validity of the contents you consume.
- Follow internet ethics.
- Use strong passwords.
- Identify malicious emails.
- Run virus scans.
4. Lifelong Learning with Digital Literacy
The technology we are using today is not as same after 10 years or so. And what we are using is getting updates every few days. If a student continues using technology, then he/she will tend to learn and stay updated with it.
With every update, kids will learn something new. And with every advancement, they will also learn new ideas and innovate.
Thus, staying up to date with technology promotes active learning that will last for a lifetime. Students of any age can benefit from what they learn. And acquiring knowledge from these devices will make them technically sound and digitally literate.
It is always a convenient option to use technology. The whole aim of technology is to solve real-world problems and make life easier.
Suppose you lost your way while commuting, and you don’t know how to use Maps. You will have to find another way out to get back to your way. But in the same case, if you know how to use Maps, you’ll be just fine and reach your destination on time.
There are so many other examples of how technology can reduce a lot of problems. But you must know how and where to use it for your benefit.
A digitally literate person will know these things and use them to make their lives easier.
For kids, being digitally literate will make them great in their academics. But in the future, it will help them become better employees and entrepreneurs too.
A digitally sound employee will make the most out of the technology they are provided with. Someone with proper knowledge of tools and skills that the industry seeks will get jobs easily. And they will perform better than others in the company.
Today, most of the company require candidates who have at least some basic knowledge of technology. And nowadays, some skills are very easy to learn and can be greatly beneficial. For example, coding is a skill that helps kids, adults, and employees a lot.
Learning to code is also easy. And it pen-up mind of those who learn it. It imbibes many other soft skills which are important for every individual.
7. Digital Literacy is Efficient
Due to rapid technological advancements, digital literacy is given great importance everywhere. Suppose if an employee working in an IT company does not have proficient digital skills, then the company will lose a lot.
For a student, it can cost in terms of knowledge. Those days are gone when students used to learn just from books. Today, there are more than millions of resources available for a single topic on the internet.
If a student does not use the internet to learn, then the student will suffer losses due to the lack of knowledge. It is time to learn more and more using smart devices. Classrooms are becoming smart. Technology has its use in every sphere of our lives.
And in such times, if you do not have basic digital skills, you will in terms of money, or opportunities.
8. Helps in Making Better Decisions
We have access to information more than ever. We can access anything with just a click. Whether it is about getting some information or making a decision.
Just like we discussed Maps, let’s assume two paths lead to the same destination. And we are confused about which path to take. In this case, we can just use Maps to see which path has lesser traffic and can be reached in lesser time.
Likewise, digital devices ease most of our confusion. We can just search for solutions and they’ll be there on your screen. From choosing music to buying clothes. Being digitally literate can help you a lot in making better decisions.
9. Influence Others
The internet has a great power to influence people. And then there are social media influencers. They have a huge power to influence people. Brands directly collaborate with influencers to promote their products. This way, all of their followers get influenced by what they try to sell.
Social media influencing is a great marketing strategy. And those who are digitally literate will use this power to influence people and earn money. Also, they get a lot of fan support and open up more and more opportunities in their career.
Thus, being a digitally literate citizen will help you a lot in your daily life as well as in your career. Keep learning new skills that are being used in this tech-driven world. And finally, become someone from whom this world can benefit a lot.
Check Out How we are Promoting Digital Literacy.
Also Read: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids in 2021
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