Teach children digital literacy


MILLIONS around the globe celebrated Safer Internet Day yesterday.
With a slogan of ‘Together for a better internet’ PNG joined in the celebration and called on all stakeholders to make the internet a safer and better place for all, and especially for children and young people.
We concur with National Information and Communications Technology Authority (Nicta) chief executive officer Kila Gulo-Vui that the internet has become an integral part of people’s daily lives.
It brought about changes to the lives of children and the young people.
The changes come with challenges and concerns such as cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity.
Each year, the safer internet day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns.
Something we cannot deny is the fact that today’s generation live in the digital world from the day they are born.
With babies tapping on screens of tablets and phones as soon as they can move their fingers and children playing on apps rather than bikes, there are major concerns about the dark, unpoliced side of the internet.
‘Safer Internet Day’ the time is right to call on young people, parents, carers, teachers, companies, and policy-makers and all those who work with children and young people to join together in helping to create a better and safe internet.
Parents and schools especially, have the responsibility to ensure our children master the new skill of digital literacy.
Buying or not buying your child a smart phone, tablet or laptop computer is a parental decision that bears all kinds of consequences.
Parents will either gain the benefits or suffer the consequences of their decision.
Children should be made well aware of the good and bad effects of these gadgets. No doubt, responsible parents will ensure that their children use smart phones and computers in ways that will benefit them by expanding their general knowledge to enhance their education.
Every educator is familiar with the concept of literacy – the ability to read and write.
Digital literacy, by this definition, covers a wide range of skills, all of which are necessary to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Students who lack digital literacy skills will find themselves at just as much of a disadvantage as those who cannot read or write.
Digital literacy refers to an individual’s ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on various digital platforms.
Most students already use digital technology, such as tablets, smartphones and computers at home.
Many students already know how to navigate the web, share images on social media, and do a Google search to find information.
However, true digital literacy goes beyond these basic skills.
Students need to be digitally literate so that they can be safe and smart while navigating social media sites.
One of the most important components of digital literacy is the ability to not just find, but to evaluate information as well.
Papua New Guinea needs to ensure its people are digitally-literate and know how to use the internet.
The internet can be a fantastic place to connect with people and share information, but it can be exploited by criminals and abusers as well.