Digital literacy is vital for personal growth and empowerment in today’s fast-paced world. As technology continues to shape our lives, it’s crucial to equip young people, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds, with the tools they need to navigate the digital world confidently.
The Need for Inclusive Digital Literacy
The past EU digital strategies (Digital Agenda for Europe, 2010; Digital Single Market for Europe, 2015; Europe Fit for the Digital Age, 2020) aimed at every European being digital. Today, digitalization is a significant part of youth work too. It is often assumed that digital tools help to reach out and include more young people, especially those hard to reach due to different social, geographical, economic, or cultural barriers.
However, the COVID-19 situation revealed a stark landscape of inequality among young people caused by varying access to digital tools and instruments (OECD, 2020). Furthermore, social inclusion related to the digital world is more than just access to technology; it can be considered as a complex concept. According to Eurostat, in 2018, 21.7 % of the population in the European Union was at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The at-risk-of-poverty rate was already higher in 2018 than in 2008 for all three age groups (16–19 years; 20–24 years; 25–29 years) among young people.
The consequences of COVID-19 have exacerbated an already difficult situation. The crisis creates considerable risks for young people in the fields of education, employment, or disposable income. As Eurofound’s COVID-19 survey shows, the youth already face challenges with a higher risk of job and income loss. They also have limited financial assets, which puts youth in economically vulnerable households at an increased risk of falling below the poverty line.
Supporting Personal Growth for Autonomy
At DigitalWise, we are committed to creating tailored learning opportunities for young people. Our primary focus is on those facing socio-economic disadvantages, minorities, and migrants. We design our programs to impart technical skills while also nurturing critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability in these individuals.
We create a supportive environment for young individuals to develop their digital skills through hands-on workshops, online courses, and mentorship programs. This fosters autonomy in them, unlocking numerous opportunities to confidently pursue their passions and aspirations.
Promoting Active Citizenship through Digital Literacy Awareness
We think digital literacy is crucial for 21st-century citizenship. Our outreach and awareness campaigns urge communities to value digital skills. We host workshops, seminars, and events to bridge the digital gap, ensuring everyone can join the digital revolution. Educating communities about digital pros and cons empowers them to make informed choices and engage in the global digital community.
Championing Peer-to-Peer Education
At DigitalWise, we understand the power of peer-to-peer education. Our activities are not only organized for young people but also by them. This approach not only encourages collaboration and teamwork but also empowers young leaders to take charge of their own learning journeys.
We foster an environment where knowledge flows freely among peers through mentorship and guidance. By harnessing the collective expertise of our diverse community, we create a dynamic learning ecosystem where every individual has the opportunity to both teach and learn, cultivating a culture of continuous growth and innovation.
Advocating for Policy Change
We recognize that systemic change is essential for creating a digitally inclusive society. DigitalWise actively engages with policymakers to advocate for young people in both the European Skills Agenda and the EU Recovery Plan.
By providing insights and recommendations, we aim to shape policies that prioritize digital literacy and inclusion as fundamental pillars of the future. Through research, advocacy campaigns, and collaborative initiatives with governmental bodies, we work tirelessly to ensure that policies reflect the evolving needs of our digitally-driven society.
Building a Future of Inclusion and Empowerment
In an increasingly digital world, online navigation isn’t a luxury but a necessity. DigitalWise is dedicated to ensuring every young person, regardless of background, can thrive in the digital age. Together, we can create a future where digital skills empower and include everyone. Let’s shape a world where no one is left behind in the digital revolution!