What is Digital Literacy? Know Everything About It

Are you a digitally literate person? Well, it depends on how you use digital technology. Do you read and believe everything or you justify with every content you read or write? How well do you know about researching something or curating data, knowing the data source, or believing information? It all lies under the umbrella of digital literacy and it is all about your skills to use the digital media correctly and confidently. Digital literacy encompasses up to date skills related to effective and the right use of technology.

What is Digital Literacy?

Let’s get started with a to-the-point definition of digital literacy given by The American Library Association:

“The ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

Under the umbrella of this definition, it is important to know that the digital natives who know how to post on social media or send a message are not considered as digitally literate by any means. Digital literacy is about so much more. Digital literacy implies having capabilities in different domains such as:

  • The ability to use technology
  • To find, make it useable, and critically evaluate any information
  • To curate the sources and data
  • To participate and communicate well in an online environment.
  • To manage online identity while taking care of privacy and personal space
  • To create content not just use it
  • To know how to find out if the content is true or not

The level of digital literacy depends on your capabilities. For instance, the digital literacy of a student of primary school will be different from the adults.

Reading Online Is Not Digital Literacy

Readers who just skim through the content and read it as per their needs are not digitally literate. It is important to know that just reading online or subscribing to an eBook service doesn’t make anyone digitally literate.  

However, if you are a student who knows how to find, evaluate, create, and communicate the information, you are on your way of becoming a savvy consumer thus digitally literate. Even when reading, students can grow very well because they evaluate the content they read to use it in their studies.

Why is Digital Literacy Important?

Educationalists, school leaders, media specialists, and teachers, everyone are focusing on the idea of making their students digitally literate because students find most of their knowledge from the internet. The Internet has become the key source of information for everyone let alone students these days. Students are learning faster to be digitally literate because they are consuming more information and evaluating everything.

People with digital literacy understand the importance of privacy and safety when it comes to using the internet. They know why and how to create strong passwords, manage the privacy settings, and they know what not to share on social media for their safety. They understand the dangers of cyberbullying and the details of cybersecurity. This is why digital literacy is so important as it makes you educated enough to use the internet safely. So, our youth must be equipped with these skills so that they can be safe and protected.

Components of Digital Literacy

When it is about digital literacy, the following domains of using the internet matter:

·         Creating Content

It is about the content you are giving to the internet. It can be emails, messages, social media posts, videos, blogs, podcasts, and many other things that you write or give to the internet in other forms. When you are a writer or you are giving content in any way, you have this ‘social power’ where you can use your words to change what people think of various things. When you are creating content, you are going through the process of experimentation and risk-taking. Digital writing is more risk-taking than print writing because it is shared and read by more people.

·         Communicating

What you choose to share with others or how you choose to communicate with them on the digital media depicts your digital literacy. Several digital writing tools make it easy and feasible to reach your audience with the right form of knowledge and language. Also, you have several sources of promoting your content so that you can reach the right audience at the right time. These tools facilitate you in writing and creating the content in the correct and readable form.

Digital sharing and communicating are exciting and dangerous as well. You have to decide what you want to share and when would you like to do that. It is all about taking care of privacy and knowing when to share the content and what sort of content should you be sharing. It matters a lot because media is accessible to everyone and nearly everyone gets to see what other people have shared. So, it is a big question for privacy and safety.

What Makes a Person Digitally Literate?

When a person is developing digital skills, he must enhance the following skills:

  • Ensuring that the content they read and share is from the correct sources and search for the background of the authors.
  • Creating content for a broad range of audiences keeping in mind the interest, reading levels, and grades of your readers.
  • Maximizing engagement by sharing your views and the content that expresses your thoughts.
  • Take care of privacy and safety concerns when it comes to sharing personal things.

When you are a digitally literate person, you can make effective and efficient use of the internet as you should. The Internet has many things in it but making it the right place for yourself and the others is digital literacy.