There are many definitions for digital literacy, but one of the most comprehensive is by Professor Hiller Spires from North Carolina State University. He divides digital literacy into 3 main pillars which are:
The above activities do not only require technical skills but many of our cognitive skills need to be used, too. Digital literacy is a skill for life, and it will become as important as learning to speak a foreign language. That's why it is vital for children to acquire digital literacy knowledge early in life so that they can find their ways successfully in today's tech-reliant world.
Finding and consuming digital content:
Reading content online in itself does not mean that one is digitally literate. You also need to know how to find a specific piece of content and the right way to consume it. Understanding the basics of internet safety, such as passwords or personal data protection, and consciously using the internet is key. Also we need to be able to evaluate information properly and distinguish fake news sources from trustworthy information. People use many different skills during reading on an online platform as it differs greatly from paper-based formats. Digital content contains not only texts or pictures but also links, videos, and other embedded items. Children need a thorough introduction for digital content search, reading, and evaluation so that they can be safe online.
Creating digital content:
There are many different digital content types that today's people create every day. Often, we are not even aware that we actually create content when writing a comment at a forum, sending an email, or simply posting on a social media site. Digitally literate people are conscious, thoughtful, and responsible when creating their posts, emails, videos, blog articles. Although today's children usually grow up with gadgets in their hands, they still need to learn how exactly to create the different digital content types, for example graphics, videos, or coding a game, just to name the most popular ones. The support of parents and schools in kids' digital literacy learning process is vital.
Communicating or sharing digital content:
People often do not think of the consequences of sharing information or content online. We need to understand that the content we share stays online forever and these contain valuable pieces of information that can be misused. For example, posted pictures of our family / home or information on which restaurants we recently visited all give private insights into our lives that can raise safety issues not only now but also in the future. We need to be aware of these factors when sharing a photo, video, or a comment. Children must be prepared for responsible content sharing e.g. on social media to understand the hidden dangers and benefit from the advantages.
Besides real life, digital communication also has deep psychological impact on people's life. Hence some people still communicate on public channels with others in an unacceptable way, shaming or cyberbullying others. Unfortunately, children are often victims or generators of such communication patterns. We need to stop this behavior by making everyone understand how harmful it is. Also, children should be taught that not all people they communicate with on the internet have good intentions, therefore they need to trust their parents, teachers, peers and ask for help if they feel trapped online.
A relatively new online communication situation that has now been affecting many children around the world is online learning where the expected behavior might not always be clear. Now there are many so-called netiquettes or videos in this topic that can help in following the most important rules.
How to boost your child's digital literacy skills
It is very important that parents talk to their children about the above internet safety and digital content issues. But expert teaching is the best preparation.
At Logiscool, we are committed to the importance of children's digital literacy knowledge, that is why we created a fun-based curriculum for it. On our Digital Discovery courses, children get the needed knowledge and can become confident to succeed in the digital world. Read the details and register your child here: https://www.logiscool.com/be-en/courses/intro_discovery