Many parents all over the world worry about the amount of ‘screen time’ their children have today. Part of their concern is in the unknown interactive elements of the internet. And part of it is due to fact that their children tend to know more about devices than they do. This is an opportunity for raising digital literacy.
This is true in London, Toronto, Dubai, Jakarta, Islamabad, Quito, Khartoum and so on. But it is also true in the rural villages of Vietnam, Niger, Paraguay and so. It is a universal concern.
The need in each context is different. Different as each person. Some need to know how to turn on devices, surf the internet, type, and so on. While others want to understand how AI and algorithms worth. But all are interested in understanding how to keep their children safe online, how to spot misinformation, and how they and their children can live wisely in a digital world. And yes, they all have their own definitions of ‘safe’, ‘wisely’, and so on.
This is true too in humanitarian contexts. Agencies come in demanding heaps of personal information entered into shiny devices. And while most of the people affected understand that if they give information to agencies, they have a better chance of receiving. However, most do not understand what happens with their data and who has access to it.
And so there is an opportunity for aid agencies to raise the digital literacy of people. To join together with communities to learn how to live wisely in a digital world. To share what they know and listen to what they don’t. Agencies can open up space for conversations. And they can add it to their logframes as activities and objective to measure the impact it is having.
And it will have an impact.