Digital Citizenship & Internet Maturity Blog

Raghu Pandey    
2020-08-21

The Most Important Subject for Your Child (Really?)

Make a nice cup of coffee for yourself and sit down peacefully (or at least imagine you have done so). Relax your breathing. We need to talk about your child’s future. Whether your child is studying in a school or a college, this talk is important for you.

Let me begin with a message for you, from your child’s future. It reads like this…

“Dear Parent,
As predicted by experts from your time, the conditions here are indeed VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). Most of the subjects your child is learning in your time have become unimportant now and everything has become digital. The life-span of skills (even the modern skills) has become very short and every professional needs to self-train himself every few months. The key to survive and succeed in this environment is to be an expert in self-learning and making the best use of digital tools. Please ensure before sending your child to our time, that he or she has thoroughly mastered the art of online self-learning and using digital tools. That mastery comes through Digital Citizenship & Internet Maturity skills. Only then your child can become a great online learner, a great online worker and stay safe online.

Extremely Serious,
Your Child’s Future”

 

You may doubt that this could be spam or prank. You might have never heard anything like this from the school or the government!

That’s a totally justified doubt in your mind. This message could actually be a spam or a prank in the case when none of the organizations of the world were talking about it. The reality is ALL developed countries have acknowledged the critical importance of Digital Citizenship education for children and youth. And they are actively working to promote it! As a proof, I am sharing just a few links to the work being done by various organizations across the world…

 

In Canada - by Govt of Saskatchewan: Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

In European Union - by Council of Europe: Digital Citizenship Education portal, Digital Citizenship Education - Overview & New Perspectives

In New Zealand - by NetSafe.org.nz: Digital Citizenship in New Zealand Schools: Overview

In Singapore - by Media Literacy Council: Better Internet Campaign

In USA - by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington: Digital Citizenship Recommendations - Report to the Legislature

By other international organizations -

UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children, Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection, Child online Protection in India (wow! something in India!)

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education): Digital Citizenship in Education

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development): 21st Century Children as Digital Citizens

World Economic Forum: 8 digital life skills all children need

Google & iKeepSafe.org: Digital Safety & Citizenship Curriculum

 

Please also do your own research about what’s happening in the world on this topic

Simply search Digital Citizenship education on Google. More than 120 million results will be served to you! Want to see what schools, teachers and students around the world are doing about Digital Citizenship? Simply search Digital Citizenship on Google News.

 

Even if you don’t read any of the above proofs…

COVID crisis must have shown to you how important ‘Learn from Home’ and ‘Work from Home’ skills are. And, even before the COVID crisis, you must be worrying as a parent about the digital issues in your child’s life – gaming addiction, Instagram/TikTok obsession, cyber-bullying, friendships with strangers, objectionable websites, privacy etc. Those worries still exist. In fact, these issues become more serious with the increase in time spent online.

 

So, very obviously…

The subject which makes your child a better online student… the subject which improves her learning agility or learnability… the subject which makes her a better online worker… and, the subject which trains her to stay safe online… should be considered as the most important subject for your child. I rest my case milord.

 

By the way, if you actually do those Google searches…

You will discover that the developed world celebrates the ‘Digital Citizenship Week’ every year in the third week of October! Ever heard of that in India? How many search results from India could you spot? I am sure, very very few.

Sadly India is still sleeping. Not even the “New” Education Policy 2020 talks about compulsory Digital Citizenship education for every child. Therefore, there is a near 99% chance that your child’s school does not have this subject in the curriculum. CBSE and ICSE have barely started talking about digital literacy and basic cyber safety in their guidelines. So, expecting them to make ‘Digital Citizenship & Internet Maturity’ a compulsory subject for students would be a day dream. Also, majority of Indian parents haven’t even heard about this subject, so they don’t demand it from the school.

In the 1% chance that your child goes to an IB or an IGCSE school, the curriculum does have Digital Citizenship as a subject. Good news! But majority of Indian IB or IGCSE schools do not consider it a “regular” subject… certainly not ‘the most important subject’.

 

So, either your child’s school has no clue about DCIM, or it is considered a low-priority subject. Now, as a parent you are at a crossroads. You must choose one of the following paths:

  • Do nothing (because all is well).
  • Wait till the school makes DCIM a subject.
  • Start giving DCIM skills to your child now (if possible).

Make a choice by clicking one of the boxes below…

 

Alright!
Then you must tell that to your child’s school. You can take action now...
Send this letter
to the Principal as a request.
 
Excellent! You are taking one of the best parenting decisions of your life!
Enroll Your Child
into our DCIM-Basics course now. Or, if your child is below 13 years, Enroll Yourself and become the digital leader for your child!

 

 

Part of image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay
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About the Author
Raghu is the founder of iMature.in. He has been working & talking on DCIM since 2010, and loving it! View other posts by Raghu Pandey.