As most of the world went into lockdown in recent weeks, the advantages of digital technology have become apparent. From helping us keep in touch with loved ones we can’t physically meet up with, to aiding in home-based learning, it is increasingly essential to have the basic know-how of digital technology to maintain productivity and sanity in this time.
While it might be stressful for some parents to have to work from home while supervising the kids on their virtual learning, it also presents a good time to further drill in those digital skills in your children. Here are some tips and must-knows for parents and children regarding useful digital tools and knowledge, especially for this period:
- Use tech for learning
As schools in the country shift to home-based learning this week, many students will have to access their classes from online platforms. If you don’t want to have to hover around your child every moment of their e-learning, you’ll have to ensure they are familiarised enough with the platforms to not have to call you for help every other minute!
And don’t just limit their knowledge to the school’s learning management sites. Now is a great time to introduce your child to other educational sites so they can find appropriate aid for further learning and pursuing their interests.
- Keep in touch
While physical meet-ups are strongly discouraged during this time, digital tools make it possible to keep in touch with your loved ones. Encourage your child to keep up with their social life by calling their friends and relatives they regularly see, so that they can continue to feel a sense of normalcy.
Even as you increase the usage of digital tools for communication, take this opportunity to warn your child about privacy issues plaguing these digital channels. In particular, remind your kids never to chat to strangers on the Internet, and to be wary of what they share online.
- Be wary of fake news
Some of your kids may be old enough to be reading the news, or to receive news on their social media accounts. If so, it is crucial to help your child recognise reliable news from fake news sources. Familiarise them with reputable news sites, and teach them to be discerning when receiving information forwarded by others.
Knowing how to evaluate sources is a valuable critical thinking skill that will serve them well. Alerting them to the impact of spreading rumours, negativity, and fear will also make them more cautious of taking everything they see at face value.
- Watch screen-time
It might be tempting to leave your kids to their own devices (literally!) while you are busy working at home, but screen-time limits should still be imposed reasonably. You might want to increase screen-time since most of their learning will take place online, but there should still be restrictions to ensure they are taking regular breaks and not growing overly reliant on tech.
How will you keep them busy without the screens, then? Encourage your child to embark on creative activities and exercise! Staying home offers great opportunities for them to work on personal projects and help around the home, so there’s no excuse to say there’s nothing to do.
Indeed, keeping learning alive at home is made easier with digital literacy, and offers ample opportunities to brush up on your kids’ digital literacy skills as well! That is why having regular digital literacy classes in school really pays off.
The International School in Singapore is a shining example of a school that prioritises digital learning. Through a dedicated Digital Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media, the school ensures children are taught how to use and navigate digital technology from their years in the IB Primary Years Programme. As students progress to the IB Middle Years Programme, they gain increasing insights on issues like safe digital habits, responsible content creation, and more, to help them become responsible, independent digital citizens.
So, if you think digital learning can be an afterthought – think again! Times like these are where the true potentials of digital literacy and technology can be harnessed. If you haven’t enrolled your child in a school with a robust digital literacy programme, it’s time to give it some serious consideration.