The 3 main pillars of digital literacy and why they are so important for kids today
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:
- Finding and consuming digital content
- Digital content creation
- Communicating or sharing digital content
The above activities do not only require technical skills but many of our cognitive skills need to be used, too. Digital literacy and digital content creation are skills for life, and they 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 way 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. We 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 to digital content search, reading, and evaluation so that they can be safe online. Digital literacy courses can provide kids with all of these.
Digital content creation:
Digital content creation became a daily activity in people’s lives. 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. People with digital literacy knowledge 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 often don’t have the opportunity to learn about the safe and conscious way of digital content creation, for example when creating graphics, videos, posting a photo or coding a game, just to name the most popular ones. This can be easily filled with parental help and with digital literacy courses specially developed based on the characteristics of their age.
Online communication 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 contains valuable information that can be misused. For example, posting 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 therefore must be prepared for responsible digital content creation and sharing e.g. on social media to understand the hidden dangers and benefit from the advantages. Acquiring digital literacy can help with this, among numerous other benefits.
Digital communication also has a deep psychological impact on people's life. Some people 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 creation 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. In our Digital Discovery courses, children get the necessary knowledge and can become confident to succeed in the digital world. Read the details and register your child here: https://www.logiscool.com/en/programs/digital-discovery-111