By the age of nine, more than half of children already have their own mobile device. By the age of twelve that figure rises to 70%. This generation of young people is growing up connected to an extent that we have simply never seen before.
Whether through a mobile phone, tablet or PC, our children live significant parts of their lives online and they need to develop the skills to keep themselves safe there.
For parents, there is a constant worry about how their children might deal with problems often encountered online. How would they cope with bullying, radicalization or online grooming? Do they understand how to spot fake news?
To address this pressing problem, a new platform allows children to measure their ability to use digital media safely. An individual’s digital intelligence quotient – or DQ score – shows how well they can use digital technology and media in responsible and effective ways.
The DQ Test
In the same way as IQ and EQ measure general and emotional intelligence, DQ measures a person’s ability and command of digital media.
Launched at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2017 in Dubai, the programme already has the support of many national governments and organisations around the world.
Children are ‘scored’ through a combination of online education tools and real-time assessment. A programme of lessons is delivered through stories and games, which makes learning interactive. At the end of each lesson, children take an online test that will give them a DQ score for each of the skills acquired.
Children are assessed against a range of criteria such as sharing personal data, meeting online strangers and exposure to violent content with the average DQ score for each set at 100.
Research clearly shows that higher the DQ, the safer the online behaviour.
For example, with an average score of 100 against the criteria of sharing personal data, the risk of a child sharing personal data is 17%. However, increasing their DQ score to 110 reduces that risk to 12%. Increasing it to 130 reduces it down to 6%.
Because the assessment is mixed with lessons, a child’s score improves as they go through the programme. A pilot study undertaken in Singapore showed that the programme improved children’s DQ score, on average, by 14%, minimising the impact of risky behaviours online and maximising their personal strengths.
“In the hyper-connected world we live in, children as young as 8 years old critically need DQ to be smart and responsible users of technology,” says Dr Yuhyun Park, founder of the #DQEveryChild movement. “These children are the first generation born and raised in a digital world, and they need to learn digital skills for the future. “
Focusing on DQ has been identified as an effective method for improving digital citizenship by the World Economic Forum. More than a dozen countries have already pledged their support for the idea including Argentina, India, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and the US. Other members include the World Economic Forum, the Varkey Foundation, Google, and LG.
“With the theme of this year’s Global Education and Skills Forum being global citizenship, it’s fitting that the launch of #DQEveryChild is taking place here,” said Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, which organises the conference. “Not only does increasing a child’s DQ score reduce the risks associated with digital technology, but it also maximizes personal strengths such as higher empathy and global citizenship, and raises their academic performance and future opportunity.”
The Global Education and Skills Forum is taking place on 18th and 19th March 2017 in Dubai, UAE, with the theme of “How do we make ‘real’ global citizens?”