Digital Skills are increasingly being recognized as key foundational skills that enhances one’s online presence and opportunities. Women at web Tanzania powered by Media Convergency has conducted a digital skills training to 20 Safe Online Space Diplomats, 8 being male and 12 females. The selected Safe Online Space Diplomats varied from entrepreneurs, to social media influencers to university students. Having diverse community, enhances creativity and understanding the perception of each individual based on their experiences on the digital space.
One of the activities that Safe Online Space Diplomats (SOSDiplomats) is implementing on the month of September is visiting Secondary schools. The aim of targeting secondary students is as follows
- Providing awareness on digital skills so as to build a foundation in understanding their digital rights and how to navigate on the space as they transit to the digital world.
- Examining the schools’ policies in having programs that help equip students to be digital skills netizens
- Having data on secondary students’ engagement online and the challenges that they incur when it comes to engagements the following areas will be looked at the type of content they read and watch, how they familiarize with different Social Media Platforms and understanding their digital audience
Pros in providing Digital Literacy to students
The number of internet users keeps increasing daily, the age being 13-year-olds to 18-year-olds, by offering digital skills to these students they will be able to,
- Secondary students will be able to brand their online presence with what they share on their social media accounts from the contents to engagements they have on daily basis based on their preference
- Increasing and developing new digital skills at an earlier age that will groom them to be well equipped with netizens
- Secondary students will be able to have an understanding on the laws governing the space and therefore use the internet with keenness.
- Increase online safety by empowering them with important knowledge, tools, processes and resources to help protect their safety and privacy as much as possible.
- Improve Digital Equity, can help to improve digital literacy among underrepresented groups, helping to upskill these students so they may have increased career opportunities in the future.
When it comes to addressing digital solutions, one of the highlighted areas is how SOS Diplomats can be part in taking deliberate measures and initiatives to engage that support the cause and movement for a better and safe space online as well as advocating against Online Gender Based Violence.
- Providing Digital Skills training not only to women but also to men
- Rather than focusing on what gender is better than the other, having a clear understanding of what equal rights mean will help in providing equal access to online opportunities
- Engaging decision makers to be part of digital skills trainings it will help in fostering conversation, having informed decisions and addressing laws that govern the space and reforming policies especially those that centre on data protection.
- A digital citizen needs to learn and understand the behaviours of different digital platform, what type of content to create and analysing it before posting.
Enhancing digital inclusiveness, strengthens solidarity especially when the trainees are fully equipped with digital skills, they are able to overcome harassment and abuse online. Missing out on engaging on the online space does not only deprive, youth from the freedom to express themselves, but rather it also deprives them the ability to embrace digital opportunities available. Now more than ever we need youth that are well equipped in the space as we gear up towards digitized economy and the 4th industrial revolution.