Preparing the future generation with digital literacy in the age of the Internet

Jakarta (Antara) – For nearly two years, Indonesian netizens have been outraged by the results of a survey that showed the level of Indonesians’ online literature was low.

The Microsoft Digital Urbanization Index 2020 survey showed that Indonesia ranked 29th out of 32 countries surveyed for literature in cyberspace. Shortly after the results of this survey came out, the Ministry of Communications and Information formed an Internet Ethics Committee, adding to the government’s efforts to increase people’s digital literacy.

It can be said that digital literacy is a valuable component in this age of the Internet. Although internet technology has been around for more than 50 years, the internet in Indonesia has only been widely known since the existence of smartphones, about a decade ago.

The massive and increasingly rapid development of technology requires many things from society, no longer about how a device is used, but also how the Internet is used to support daily life.

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Data from the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association shows that the number of Internet users in Indonesia is always increasing from year to year. In the latest survey, the number of Internet users reached 220 million. Up to 77 percent of Indonesia’s population is already connected to the Internet.

The same survey also showed an increase in internet use, including 53.99 for the 19-34 age group and 47.91 percent for the 35-54 age group. Meanwhile, Hootsuite data for 2022 indicates that Indonesian users spend an average of 8 hours and 36 minutes per day accessing the internet.

This data shows how the Internet has had a huge impact in Indonesia. As Internet experts often say, technology is a double-edged sword. It can bring good and bad.

Quoting the opinion of Communications Lecturer at Udayana University, Bali, née Maid Ras Amanda Gilgel, not all information on the internet is correct. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to sort and select information scattered in cyberspace.

We can take an example from the things that happen daily, the messages that are forwarded through WhatsApp groups. Young and old, they don’t want to miss out on providing the latest and most important information.

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How accurate the information is, whether it comes from a competent source, they do not necessarily know.

Digital literacy plays a very important role in overcoming this phenomenon. The audience can gain knowledge about how to identify potential scams and what their impact would be if they were repeatedly scammed.

The importance of digital literacy can be seen through the characteristics of the Internet as a new medium. When compared to TV, for example, internet-connected devices are mostly intended for personal use.

If a family can get together to watch the same program when watching TV, a different story will happen when accessing mobile phones. Families can be in the same room, but everyone is staring at their own screen.

Understanding the Internet is more complex due to the individual nature that the Internet provides.

It can be said that the status of digital literacy today is just as important as formal education. The Internet opens up opportunities for the emergence of many new technologies. This means that the skills taught today may have to be updated in the next six months because there is a new phenomenon.

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For example, when people start to recognize code One Time Password (OTP) In order to use the digital wallet, cybercriminals pretend to be the organizers of the digital wallet and need an OTP to verify the data.

Therefore, in digital literacy, the public needs to understand that an OTP token should not be given to anyone, not just how the OTP token is used.

Who needs digital literacy training?

In contrast to formal education, which is usually followed by the age of five to twelve years, the goal of digital literacy is much broader: those who live and use the Internet.

It is equally important that a 5-year-old and a 50-year-old be exposed to digital literacy, of course with an age-adjusted understanding. For example, at age 5, digital literacy focuses on parents in order to provide rules about how long they can watch videos.

Unlike formal education, digital literacy subjects not only have to keep up with age, but also have to keep up with how often they are exposed to the Internet. The illustration is that when students are in first grade SD, students are taught math in increments. In the second grade of primary school, the material is more complex, namely multiplication.

There is a proficiency standard in formal education, i.e. when second graders are expected to proliferate. Meanwhile, digital literacy is not necessarily able to follow such a pattern.

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The amount of internet exposure a person has can be a measure of the digital skills they need. For example, we do not need to provide training on how to prevent DDoS attacks on 30-year-olds, who use the Internet for online shopping every day.

Given the importance of digital literacy, it has become one of the priority issues in the G20 sub-forum, the Digital Economy Working Group. Member states agree that there is a need for standard indicators to measure digital capabilities.

Digital literacy is a long-term investment, and the results are not necessarily visible in the near future. What is taught during digital literacy today, may not necessarily change the participants’ attitude the next day.

However, positive behavior using digital technology can become a habit if introduced on an ongoing basis. Then the culture.

Indonesia definitely wants to reap glorious things from the demographic reward of 2030 with human resources who possess not only digital talent but also high internet morals.

With the promotion of digital literacy in the sub-forum of the Indonesian G20 Presidency and the efforts of the government through the Ministry of Communications and Information in cooperation with various agencies and communities, it is hoped that the use of the Internet in positive and beneficial activities will become a culture for our generation and nation.

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