The pandemic has forced millions of people to migrate online for many activities. Locked at home, people ordered food, groceries, medicine and a wide range of other products online, continued their formal education in virtual classrooms, consulted doctors and made financial transactions. digitally.
The problem, as the new head of the Department of Information and Communication Technology pointed out, is that many people have been forced to go digital overnight without knowing basic security rules in the workplace. use of ICT.
Similar issues have arisen in many countries that have resorted to lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. Child protection advocates, for their part, have noted a global increase in online child sexual exploitation during the pandemic. Advocates have also lamented the negative impact of distance education, especially on young children who were unfamiliar with digital technology before being forced to migrate to online learning.
Besides these issues, there has been a spike in online financial fraud, as people with rudimentary knowledge of digital technology fall for scams offering jobs or high returns on investment. Many complaints have also been filed regarding substandard products and services purchased through e-commerce.
Even news consumption has suffered, as surveys show that a majority of Filipinos cannot distinguish between right and wrong news, and even believe the anonymous and irresponsible stories that freely proliferate on social media. The line between opinion and outright reporting has been blurred by self-proclaimed “reporters” with no journalism training and no accountability to any responsible news organization.
The new head of DICT’s plan to include digital literacy in the basic education curriculum is an idea worth considering. It will need the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, especially in the development of the learning modules. The new government should also consider developing a digital literacy program suitable for older people, for whom the use of ICT is not intuitive and who are now forced to do many transactions online.
In exclusive schools where students are mostly from well-to-do families, digital literacy starts at home at an early age, even before the child enters kindergarten. But that’s not the case in the typical low-income household where parents can’t afford a cell phone for every adult member or even the monthly fee for basic internet access. The promotion of digital literacy is one of the programs that must be launched quickly upon the arrival of the new administration.