Have you ever thought about the importance of digital literacy in your life? Or maybe in someone else’s life in your family or neighborhood.
What is the first thing you did when you got the first smartphone or computer? I started exploring the features and connected to the internet to browse through the social media news feed.
Yes, I am talking about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
But, before that, did you think about your privacy and security for even a second? Of course not! Why would you put your joy of getting a new gadget away with these thoughts?
That’s what is happening for many of the users. We love watching videos, sharing posts but never think about the important stuff, the privacy, and the security.
Today, Your Internet companion is here with a crash course on the Importance of Digital Literacy Among Users.
Let’s get started!
What is digital literacy?
You will find the definition on Wikipedia or in your books. Let me explain the meaning of Digital Literacy.
A digitally literate is a person who can explore every aspect of digital platforms which are required for communication. The person should use digital media efficiently without any trouble.
It is not necessary to understand each digital device. But you should be able to teach yourself how to understand and use a device.
For example, if you know how to work on a Windows computer but do not know anything about Mac. In such a case, you should be able to teach yourself how Mac or any other computer with a different operating system works.
Then you could call yourself digitally literate.
Similarly, suppose you are using the internet to complete an online purchase with internet banking. In that case, you should know about the necessary safety precautions to take while making an online payment.
Negative Impact of lack in Digital Literacy
Let me start with a scenario that happened recently.
One of my cousins received a message with a link on WhatsApp. The message was about a bumper sale to get iPhone 12 for less than $1. He was very excited after finding the bumper sale and clicked on the link without caring about anything else.
The link opened a website with unbelievable discount and asked to complete the order. The amount was Rs. 49 (approx. $0.65). He entered all the details, including the address, credit card details to complete the payment and clicked on Pay Now.
Can you guess what happened next?
The website displayed a message saying, “Due to the unexpected numbers of buyers, the server is unable to complete the order. Please try again after a few hours!”
Now my cousin was a bit worried because he would need to wait for a few hours before getting the iPhone 12. He shared the link with me and asked me to try it on my phone.
That was when I learned about the scam he put himself into and unknowingly entered the sensitive details (personal details, address, credit card details) on an unknown website.
I called him and suggested blocking his credit card as soon as possible.
He did the same when I forced him to do so and was saved from that scam.
Now, here comes the importance of digital literacy among users. If he was digitally literate, he would have understood a few things easily:
- Never enter personal information on an unknown website.
- Never enter the credit card details without verifying the website’s / app’s legality.
- You may not even see the message if there were a server load. The website becomes unreachable in case of an enormous load on the server.
- And, you can never get the iPhone 12 for less than $1 just by clicking on some random link from WhatsApp or Facebook.
Due to the lack of digital literacy, so many users are getting scammed by unauthorized means on the internet, especially on social media.
Another impact of this lack of digital knowledge is users instantly believe everything on social media. That’s the reason fake news spread quickly on Facebook.
There are some other instanced that are happening on the internet due to proper knowledge about the digital platforms:
- Sharing a random sensitive content (of a poor guy or person with terminal disease) believing that Facebook will donate if they share the post
- Taking action on the basis of news from Facebook and WhatsApp.
- Unknowingly signing up on random websites in order to get impossible deals.
- Getting scammed from people looking for digitally illiterate people
- Taking part in illegal activity unknowingly by purchasing stolen items and nulled software
And so many ways in which a person can think about fooling someone digitally.
Benefits/Importance of Digital Literacy among users
So far, we have discussed the negative impact of not being digitally literate in today’s world. Lack of digital literacy is harmful and may cause serious issues. But, what are the benefits of being digitally literate? Is it limited to just keeping yourself safe from possible threats, or is there something apart from that?
Let’s have a look at the benefits and importance of digital literacy
1. As discussed earlier, being digitally literate keep you safe from possible cyber crimes and prevent harmful activities such as sharing sensitive information, financial loss, scamming, and more.
2. You will stay up to date with the latest technological advancements if you understand what it means.
3. You won’t need basic assistance just to operate a new smartphone/computer or an upgraded version of software. For example, if the layout of the computer OS has changed after an upgrade, it would not be difficult for you to find your way around its features.
4. The world is changing fast, and after recent events, everyone is drawn to digital life. In such a case, digital literacy is not just an option but a must to survive in the competitive environment.
5. You can learn a new skill and boost career growth. Always remember, a guy with computer knowledge has better chances of growth than someone without any digital knowledge.
6. All the sectors, including bank, supermarket, logistics, etc., are going digital. It could be possible that it would become difficult to buy groceries if you are not digitally skilled.
7. Last on the list but not least, being digital saves time and improves efficiency. Instead of going to the market, you can simply order items online and save extra time. You can get hot food delivered to your house in a few clicks.
As you see, being digitally sound has so many benefits. But, only the benefits are not linked to digital life. There are some drawbacks too. Let’s have a look at those too!
Drawbacks of living a digital life
Advancement in technology is surely a boon to humans, but the use of technology might make it the biggest curse for life on earth. The same applies to being digitally sound.
1. Being digital may harm the physical activities in your life. As you are comfortable ordering everything online and even making friends online, it may cause side effects on your health. After the pandemic, even the businesses turned to Work from Home, and for most people, it has not become a habit to stay isolated.
2. Increment in the expanses: Before using digital transactions, you might need to visit the bank to get the cash and then visit the market/specific store to buy the things you need. But, online banking has reduced the time to complete this process; now, you can buy things online in minutes.
It definitely increases the expenses as you might buy the things you don’t even need. Here is how it happens:
- Earlier, you had to go outside the home and visit the stores one-by-one to buy different items. A person would do the same only if the thing is really important.
- Now, you visit Amazon or any other app and start searching for the thing you need. The website will show some other suggestions and motivates buying more items with discounts and deals.
- Most of the people buy the products only to test them as they are worry-free due to free refunds and then sometimes forget to return the item.
Being digitally literate is important nowadays, but how we use this technology is in our hands. Going beyond the limit may convert the merits of digital life into demerits. Make sure you keep control of your digital life and stay safe online by following the necessary options.
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Also, do not forget to share your views in the comment section.