Digital Literacy is having the skills you need to live, learn and work in a world where communication and information use digital technology like internet platforms, social media and mobile services. Simply put, it is like having the skills and knowledge to access information digitally with the help of the internet, social media and smartphones.
For instance, you are digitally literate if you know how to use the internet as a resource, using a browser, sending an email, video editing or coding.
Almost every student has access to the internet nowadays and learning how to use it safely and effectively with the guidance of parents and teachers is very important.
To become digitally literate, you must know some basic skills like computational thinking skills which is the ability to think like computers or critical thinking skills which gives you a direction to what you should think. Digital literacy is important for all students - from primary to university students. Knowing how to properly use digital technology can help them a lot in their academics and in building soft skills. Let’s explore digital literacy and why it is important for kids.
Why is Digital Literacy Important?
1. Better Communication
Communication is more advanced these days. We have newer ways to communicate with people. We use technology like emails, text messages, video conferencing, etc. All of these provide us with a better communication experience.
Kids should learn how to use technology to communicate positively making them much aware of the world they live in. Communication plays an important role in every student's life, more so when they are interacting with computers or smartphones. It means that when a student is involved in any digital activity, the student should be able to communicate properly with technology.
Teaching them coding or any digital skill will enhance their communication skills.
Some ways to enhance digital communication skills for your kids:
· Using Social Media for communication (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
· Instant Messaging (Whatsapp, Messenger, Viber)
· Video Conferencing (Zoom, Skype, Duo)
· Video Sharing (Youtube)
· Reading (blogs)
2. Practical Skills
You learn practical skills with digital literacy. How? You learn by doing with the help of computers.
Let’s say you find a problem on your PC or smartphone; you go online to search for solutions. This helps in troubleshooting. In the future, whenever a child gets into any trouble, they will be able to look for solutions on their own.
Practically doing things keeps you in the hold of a skill. If you learn a new skill, like playing the guitar, learning by doing it instead of just watching videos will make you learn better.
3. Internet Safety
As our children become more and more exposed to the internet, their vulnerability also increases. It is very important to keep them safe online. Using digital gadgets and knowing their limitations makes you very much aware of their negative effects.
It’s easy to ensure online safety and becoming digitally literate at the same time. But how? These are some measures you can do to keep yourself safe online:
· Determine the validity of the contents you consume
· Follow internet ethics
· Use strong passwords
· Identify malicious emails
· Run virus scan regularly
4. Lifelong learning with digital literacy
The technology we have today is different from what we have a decade ago or so. We get updates every few days. If a student continues to use technology, then he/she should learn it and stay updated with it.
Kids learn something new with every update. They learn new ideas and innovate with every advancement. So, staying updated with technology promotes active learning that will last for a lifetime. This benefits student of all ages. Acquiring knowledge from devices will make them technically sound and digitally literate.
5. It is convenient and make life easier for us.
Using technology is always a convenient option because the whole aim of technology is to solve real-world problems and make our lives easier.
Let’s say you were commuting, and you got lost and you don’t know how to use Maps. You’ll have to find another way in and out to get back to your way. But if you know how to use Maps, you’ll be fine, and you would still reach your destination on time.
There are many ways how technology can help reduce a lot of our problems. But you must know how and where to use it for your benefit. Someone who is digitally literate will know these things and will use them to make their lives easier.
6. Better Employment or Better Career Choices.
Being digitally literate for kids will make them great in academics. But in the future, it will help them become better entrepreneurs and employees too.
A digitally literate employee will make the most out of the technology they are provided with. Somebody equipped with the proper knowledge of tools and skills that the industry needs will get jobs easily. They will also perform better than the others.
Today most company prefers candidates who have some basic knowledge of technology. Some skills are very easy to learn and can be very beneficial. For example, coding skills are very helpful to kids and adults.
Learning to code is easy and it opens the minds of those who learn it. It also absorbs many other soft skills which are important for everyone.
7. It is efficient.
Digital literacy is efficient. Because of the technological advancements happening rapidly, digital literacy is given importance everywhere. If an employee working for an IT company doesn’t have proficient digital skills, then the company loses a lot.
For students, it makes a difference in terms of knowledge. Gone are the days when student used to learn from books alone. Today, there are millions of information available on the internet on a single topic. Students who does not use the internet for studies suffer a big loss due to lack of knowledge. It’s time to learn and encourage the use of smartphones in studies. If you don’t have basic digital skills, you lose in terms of money or opportunities.
8. Better decision-making.
We have access to information literally at our fingertips. In just a few clicks or taps, we can access the information we need and make decisions based on the outcome. Going back to our example of using Maps, you will know which route will take you to your destination faster with lesser hassle.
Digital services simplify most of our confusion. We can search for solutions and with a click, you find them on your screen. All the choices are presented to you, from buying music, books to buying clothes and meals. Being digitally literate can help you make better decisions thus making daily life easier and convenient.
9. Influence other people.
The internet is a great platform to influence people. Social media influencers have proven to have the power to influence people. Brands are collaborating with them to promote their products. Their followers are influenced to buy or use the products they try to sell. This is seen to be more effective than traditional media ads like television and radio and billboards.
Social media influencing is a great marketing strategy and those who are digitally literate use this power to influence people and earn. On top of this, they get more fan support and open more opportunities in their career.
How do we promote digital literacy?
Skill Samurai equips children with future-ready STEM skills (Science, Tech, Engineering & Maths). Our 'Coding for kids' program helps kids thrive in the classroom and beyond. Learn more about our coding classes here.