Parents, Lets get Digital!
Today, Digital Media is no longer solely regarded as a luxury or extension to traditional forms of media such as TV and Radio. In fact, we could even go as far to say that Digital Media is now an extension of ourselves! That’s right, you are a Digital Citizen like me and anyone else you know that uses and/ or possesses a digital device like a tablet or a smartphone. Now when we say ‘Digital Citizen‘, we do not mean you’re a robot or anything of the sort, but a Digital Citizen is simply anyone who, ‘has an understanding or the ability to use digital devices‘.
Digital Devices are ever-present in our lives from Smartphones to Smart watches, and a study from OFCOM revealed that on average, we are spending more time using Digital Devices than we are sleeping! It’s incredible the amount of affordable technology we have at our disposal and more importantly, our willingness to adapt and become literate in everything Digital has opened us up to a world of engaging experiences and methods to help facilitate our lives.
So what is Digital Literacy?
Digital Literacy is arguably an essential skill that you may have learnt or inherited knowingly or unknowingly! Simply put, Digital Literacy is the ability to Learn, Locate and Understand information from Digital Devices. So, if you are competent at using a smartphone to send an email, use a smart watch to make a call or a laptop to create a presentation, these are all examples of Digital Literacy and demonstrate your ability to successfully understand and use technology to achieve an end-goal. In this age, being well versed in Digital is an extremely valuable and progressive tool that can promote more engaging and interactive experiences that not only leads to greater productivity, but more importantly, greater knowledge of how things work and why they work in the manner in which they do.
Also, lets be clear that this is not just something that only adults can learn and reap the benefits of in their everyday lives, but it is becoming increasingly evident that children can benefit too, both at school and at home! In fact, introducing children to digital technology at an early age can help equip them with many valuable skills and progressive knowledge that would be beneficial to them both now and in the future.
How can I teach my Child to become Digitally Literate?
There is a lot you can do! If you are adept at using the Digital Devices in your home, you’re already halfway there. We strongly recommend that you ensure that your child has a well-balanced play diet in place in which they are able to use digital devices to learn through play and set time and content restrictions on tablets and smartphones or any other digital device your child uses to ensure that they respect their balanced play diet and that they do not access anything inappropriate. Also, there are also many applications available to help support parents and child development.
In regards to how your child can improve their digital literacy at school, back in September 2014, a new computing curriculum was introduced with the objective of teaching children about computers and IT in more depth to equip them with skills that would help them adapt to and use technology as it progresses. That being said, we’re not talking about word processing and spreadsheet entry, we’re talking about learning algorithms and coding programs and websites from scratch. By learning these practices through tablets and applications, the curriculum will help guide and teach children to become more creative and more responsible in the digital age and understand how websites and programs work from the back-end, helping them to solve any problems they come across, so they are able to become confident in their abilities and encourage them to use a wide range of other skills these possess.
Fresh from the BETT show in January, we at Fundamentally Children can testify that the Educational Technology market is booming right now and there are plenty of accessible, and in many cases, free resources offering children the opportunity to learn and develop inside the classroom and beyond the confines of a classroom in both a fun and interactive manner, which is crucial as it helps prompt them to participate and be engaged in activities, whether they are working independently or in a group as a team.
Now even if you, as a parent, feel that you are not the most ‘tech-savvy’, and you hear from your child that they are learning X,Y, Z in school, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the technical jargon that your child has picked up on, in fact, we have a host of articles to help support you and we will even provide you (and your child) with some links to a number of amazing and FREE resources, which offers a fantastic opportunity to brush up or even better, develop your skills in computing, so not only will you be comfortable with the day-to-day usage of your digital devices, but you will also be comfortable with knowing how to safeguard your child from visiting certain sites or apps as you will get to learn the technical aspects of digital devices. For example, when purchasing new products, you’ll be better equipped knowing information and specifications that puts you in a stronger position to determine whether a device meets your requirements or not OR you can restrict access to your phone or disable in-app purchases to prevent your child from accessing content and applications that you would deem to be inappropriate for them.
Making the most of the Digital World
Unlike in the past, Digital Literacy can no longer be regarded as a luxury or a skill that isn’t mandatory to have some basic knowledge in. It is increasingly becoming a necessity for everyone around the world (especially here in the UK) as it is arguably a key contributor in development and in our everyday lives. We are exposed to a near infinite amount of technological resources that enable us to retrieve information in a matter of seconds, even less! And as technology develops, it is important that we develop alongside it so that we are able to fully make use of its continuous growth and potential to help us learn, solve, innovate and increase our productivity levels, thus facilitating our lives. Sure, there are some dark sides of the internet and unethical aspects of technology that we want to stay away from and protect our children from and we shall cover this in further depth in a later article, but taking the first steps to understand the digital devices that you possess and how they work can go a long way in putting you and family in control to ensure your Digital Experiences are in-sync with one another and are continuously uplifting and fulfilling.
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