Any tool when used without a purpose becomes a toy!
A vast majority of children, after learning the ABC of the Internet (i.e. Basics of using the Internet), get stuck into an infinite loop of EFG of the Internet – Entertainment, Fun and Gossip! They consider Internet as nothing more than a toy-box full of entertaining stuff.
The Internet is actually a box of tools, a powerful resource that can be used for a variety of purposes. The keyword is "purpose". Majority of children have no clue of why a particular online platform is created and they start playing with it for fun. Let's look at some online tools and understand their purpose:
- Social Networking Tools: Social networking tools like Facebook and Instagram are designed to connect people with one another and facilitate communication and sharing. Users create profiles and share updates, photos, and videos with their friends and followers. These platforms are often used for personal and social purposes, such as staying in touch with friends and family, sharing news and events, and following the activities of celebrities and public figures. Example: Facebook allows users to create profiles, share posts, and connect with friends and family. Instagram allows users to share photos and videos with their followers.
- Professional Networking Tools: Professional networking tools like LinkedIn are designed to help professionals connect with one another, network, and find job opportunities. Users create profiles that highlight their skills and experience, and can connect with other professionals in their industry. These platforms are often used for career development and job searching. Example: LinkedIn allows users to create professional profiles, connect with other professionals, and search for job opportunities.
- Group Discussion Tools: Group discussion tools like forums provide a platform for people to share ideas and discuss various topics. These platforms are often used for community building and collaboration. Users can create new threads and reply to existing ones, and can interact with one another through text-based messaging. Example: Reddit is a popular forum where users can create and participate in discussions on a wide variety of topics.
- Self Expression Tools: Self-expression tools like blogs provide a platform for individuals to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with a wider audience. Users can create and publish content on a variety of topics, and can interact with their readers through comments and social media sharing. Example: WordPress is a popular blogging platform that allows users to create and publish blog posts on a wide variety of topics.
- Searching Tools: Searching tools like Google provide a way for users to find information on the internet. Users can enter a search term or phrase, and the search engine will provide a list of relevant websites and resources. Example: Google is the most popular search engine, providing users with access to a wide variety of information on the internet.
- Self Learning Tools: Self-learning tools like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and OCWs (Open Courseware) provide a way for individuals to learn new skills and subjects through online courses and materials. Users can access lectures, assignments, and other resources online and at their own pace. Example: Coursera is a popular MOOC platform that offers courses on a wide variety of subjects from universities around the world. MIT OpenCourseWare provides access to course materials and resources from MIT courses.
Just as with any other powerful tool, care & caution is important with Internet too!
Teens should be aware of the risks associated with the Internet, such as cyberbullying, online predators, and exposure to inappropriate content. They should also be mindful of their online behavior and the information they share. To make the best & the safest use of the online tools, children need Digital Citizenship & Internet Maturity skills. DCIM skills help ensure that children can make the most of the opportunities provided by the Internet while minimizing the risks.
Take a look at the list of DCIM skills which empower a learner to do the following:
1. Understand What is Web 2.0.
2. Create & Share Digital Content effectively.
3. Mature Way of Social Networking.
4. Mature Way of professional Networking.
5. Do Online Forum Discussions effectively.
6. Write Blogs effectively for Self-Expression.
7. Search trustworthy Knowledge Online.
8. Utilize open courseware & MOOCs for self-learning and self-training.
9. Be Safe & act ethically Responsibly Online.
10. Build a Positive Online Reputation for career success.