New digital literacy tool can test your tech skills in just 5 minutes

Are you a digital dynamo or computer clueless? From transferring files to creating an Instagram reel, this tool will rate your skills and assess whether you’re an expert or novice in the modern world.

It follows a study which found eight in 10 parents believe digital skills should be taught in schools with the same level of importance as reading and writing. But the research of 2,000 mums and dads of 6-18-year-old children revealed 44% worry their offspring’s current knowledge doesn’t stretch much further than scrolling social media.

Two thirds believe learning from an early age is key to building their digital toolset – and 61% think it will help their future career prospects. While 67% consider it a necessity to help integrate, as the world becomes more digitised. It also emerged 45% believe coding and programming should be part of the curriculum.

Sian Laffin, at Three UK, which runs training sessions across the country at its stores and online, and commissioned the research, said: “Parents clearly want to set their children up well for the digital age. Digital literacy opens up a world of opportunities for children, providing them with the skills to learn, create, and communicate in new and innovative ways.

“Ensuring that children are digitally literate is crucial for their personal and academic growth. It prepares them to meet the demands of the modern workforce and society.”

The study found as well as basic computer skills (62%), 54% would like to see kids taught about social media safety. While 52% think typing lessons are a must, and 30% would even appreciate kids being taught basic graphic design skills.

But 74% worry that, in the future, children not having access to the latest tech will see them left behind in the job market. And 76% believe a proportion of a school’s budget should be ringfenced, to ensure they have access to the latest in digital technology.

With only 11% of the parents polled rating their own digital skills as ‘excellent’, 67% would like a stronger understanding of how to protect themselves online.

More than four in 10 (44%) have forgotten usernames or passwords to their online accounts, and 26% have struggled to set up a wireless device. A quarter have also felt frustration at the Wi-Fi going down and not having the tech skills to fix it, according to the figures.

Only 53% of respondents currently use tech to keep tabs on their child, such as software on phones to know where they are or accessing their internet search history. And they consider kids to be ready to use their own ‘personal’ screens, such as their own phone or tablet, from the age of eight.

Sian Laffin, from Three, added: “Tech is the way of the future and will continue to impact every person in the country going forward. It’s important to find a balance between understanding and being confident with technology and becoming too reliant on it. Tech education should cover both of these elements, letting young people know what options are available to them beyond social media.”

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