Raise Your Students’ Digital IQ – A Plan for Your Classroom
“More than half of 8-12 year olds are exposed to cyber-risks,” according to a 2018 report. These risks can include cyber-bullying, online sexual behaviors and video game addition. The threat is easy to see. Kids today spend hours a day online on computers and phones, much of it unmonitored. To protect your students from online threats you need to raise their Digital IQ.
What is Digital IQ?
According to the DQ Institute, an international think tank that aims to ensure every child acquires the skills they need to be informed users of digital media, “Digital Intelligence is the sum of technical, mental and social competencies essential to digital life.” It’s not only skills at coding and working with technology, but also avoiding the risks that technology exposes children to.
There are eight aspects of digital IQ:
- Digital Safety – avoiding online threats such as cyberbullies,
- Digital Security – keeping passwords and online information safe,
- Digital Use – using online resources appropriately, including managing screen time,
- Digital Identity – managing the online perception of you as an individual,
- Digital Rights – knowing your rights to free speech and privacy online,
- Digital Literacy – facility in using programs and apps,
- Digital Communication – interacting with others through online media, and
- Digital Emotional Intelligence – treating online contacts with empathy.
Why Focus on Digital IQ in the Classroom?
It would be easy to say that kids should learn these digital skills at home, but the fact is, often they don’t. World Economic Forum notes that children today are growing up as part of the first generation to be raised with smartphones and social media, so their parents don’t know how to equip them with these skills. This creates a great need for digital skills to be taught in the classroom. You might not be able to cover every aspect of digital intelligence, but you can introduce the topic to your students and cover critical aspects.
How Can You Raise Your Students’ Digital IQ?
- Start with just one component of Digital Intelligence. Digital IQ is a broad topic. If you try to cover every aspect of it at once, the task may feel too big and you’ll risk overwhelming your students. A good place to start is with Digital Safety.
- Assess your students on that component. Do your students know what cyberbullying is? Do they know why it can be dangerous to interact with strangers online? Do your students know about the settings and programs they can use to protect themselves from harmful content?
- Present your students with scenarios that are relevant to their lives. Find out what programs and apps your students use on a regular basis. Do they know what cybersecurity threats might look like in those apps?
- Engage your kids in problems solving. You don’t know how every child in your classroom uses computers and/or smart phones, but that’s okay. Let them take an ownership stake in their online safety by brainstorming how they could respond to the cybersecurity threats you’ve identified.
- Ensure students know who to turn to if they feel their cybersecurity is being threatened.
The payoff is that a small amount of classroom time can substantially boost your students’ digital IQ and protect them from online threats.