These days, kids don’t just need to know how to read and write. Basic literacy isn’t enough in the 21st century.
Today, kids also need to understand how to evaluate and dissect the different types of information and media they are exposed to, and be confident and proficient in the tools they use to interact with it.
The good news is that a lot of schools and educators get this. And many are developing programs and curriculum to help build these competencies in the classroom.
The best news is that parents can kick-start that education early at home without too much effort.
1. Educate Yourself: Do you know what skills fall under each of these umbrellas? If not, learn about them – having a thorough understanding can go a long way. Plus, there are a lot of great resources out there to help you get up-to-speed.
2. Educate Your Kids: Talk to kids about what you learned. Set them up with the basics: ways to find information and technologies to help, looking for credible sources, evaluating content or points of view, understanding advertising, etc.
3. Practice Together: Once you’ve covered the basics, practice. A great time to do it is at the dinner table. Asking questions that prompt kids to evaluate the online content or media they’ve seen that day can be simple and fun. For example: Did something you read today surprise you? Did that video you were talking about seem to cool to be true? You’ll be setting them up to work through and analyze stuff they see in the future without even thinking about it.
What other things can you do (or are you doing) to help build you and your child’s digital and media literacy skills?
Cover image courtesy of Flickr