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What is Digital Literacy and Why is It Important? A Closer Look

Team StoryWeavers|April 04, 2023, 14:09 IST|

introduction to digital literacy for children

We live in a digital world. We know how to find anything and everything on the internet. The internet is a part of our lives–a rather big part of it– and it will also be a big part of our children’s lives as they grow up. That is why they are often called digital natives. However, we rarely ensure that children are equipped with the right tools to stay safe and make the best use of the digital technologies available to them because it is a complex topic. In this series, we will navigate through digital literacy and its importance one step at a time.

What is digital literacy?

Literacy means having knowledge and skills in a particular area such as health, money, computers and, in this case, digital technologies. Digital literacy allows you to live, learn and work in a digital world. It goes beyond knowing how to use the internet and find things online. 

Digital literacy is the combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes that help you to be both safe and confident as our world becomes more and more digital. This is a basic definition that is likely to change.  

Why is digital literacy important for children?

As we discussed before, the world is going to become more digital in the future than it is today, and that makes it important to teach children how to navigate it. Here are three reasons why: 

  • Even before they start school, many children today know how to use digital technologies to accomplish their goals. For example, most children know how to open an app and play the nursery rhyme they want to hear. Digital literacy can help these children use digital tools more responsibly. 
  • Digital literacy can help children think critically about the information they find on the internet and understand concepts like digital footprint or online safety. For example, a child may be able to tell the difference between good and bad content and take appropriate actions. 
  • Many things such as future job opportunities for children might depend on how well they understand and adapt to the ever-evolving digital world around them. For example, remember how quickly students had to adjust to online learning during the pandemic. 

Common topics that are covered in digital literacy

Here are a few topics that are typically covered under digital literacy:

  • The difference between the online and offline world.
  • The pros and cons of using technology to communicate with people online.
  • The nature of information online and how information on the internet stays there forever.
  • How anonymity on the internet can lead to bullying.
  • Online security methods such as passwords.
  • The reasons why people do not own the content on the internet, even if they can use or save it. 

We will explore these topics in detail in future articles. Till then, stay tuned and let us know if there is anything else you would like us to cover in the comments section. 

Disclaimer: This post has been overly simplified to make it easy for children (Ages 5–8) to read and understand. 

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About the Author

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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