Just last year in 2017, headlines read: “Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens”. Which apparently is about the Chinese government’s plans to launch a Social Credit system by 2020 which would judge the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion residents. The system itself would be heavily based on technology and reliable internet infrastructure.
“People with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants and the removal of the right to travel”, says Rachel Botsman, author of ‘Who Can You Trust?’
Earlier this year, Singtel and DQ Institute introduced the digital intelligence program to primary schools in Singapore, while Mckinsey & Company now runs an assessment program Digital 20/20 (Discover Your Digital Future).
With independent activities and movements worldwide showing simultaneous preparation for a digital future, we can see that digital citizenship is no longer the domains of a niche group but is rapidly becoming the norms; especially so for Centennials. While businesses prepare for the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, smart technology and robots, one very important segment that we should not overlook in preparation for our digital future and Thailand 4.0 is the young and growing generation.
Knowing how to use the internet, how to code, how digital marketing works, being versed in social media and search tools is no longer enough. For the system to work, it comes back to the very basics of human integrity, core values and character. This is where the role of Digital Quotient comes in.
From IQ, to EQ, to LQ (Love Quotient according to Jack Ma), comes DQ (Digital Quotient).
So what is digital quotient and why is it important? Last year, the House of Lords Communication Committee in the United Kingdom recommends that “digital literacy sits alongside reading, writing and mathematics as the fourth pillar of a child’s education; and that no child should leave school without a well-rounded understanding of the digital world.” And so the ‘Growing up with the internet’ report was born.
Accordingly, the proponents of DQ at the highest level view include:
- Digital Citizenship: The ability to follow the right code of behavior and to be aware of the many dangers that can lurk online
- Digital Creativity: Applying the tools, for example in terms of content contribution or learning how to code
- Digital Entrepreneurship: Is about harnessing the technology to bring about change and innovation
The term digital is no longer just about digital marketing or how to run Adwords. It’s about preparing the growing generation to become true digital citizens and it is a global movement. How well we are able to prepare the growing generation to navigate the future digital world may perhaps be one of the indicators on how well our economy will flourish.
At one point in time, English became the mutual and global means for communication between nations and countries. Digital is quickly becoming so as well. Understanding how the internet and technology works as well as as an understanding of the rules of conduct as a digital citizen may no longer be a good to have/know but a mandatory part to prepare the future generation for.
On the contrary, Digital Citizenship is not only for the young generation, but the older generation as well. The fast-pace at which technology is disrupting our lives, does not mean we should leave anyone behind. This would widen the generation gap between members of society that co-exist. Grandparents should be able to LINE or Whatsapp with their grandchildren. Families overseas should be able to enjoy multiplayer environments for a get together, and so on.
Digital Citizenship and raising digital intelligence is not only for corporate professionals in digital fields but involves parents, children, teachers and educators as well.