Last week a relative called me in anguish who had to pay his son’s tuition and did not know how to do it. His case is not unique, many families are seeing them “struggles” to carry out procedures that seem simple for the Administration and banks but that for many people are not so. My wife went to the delegation of a company of a machine that is used a lot in our kitchens and what was the surprise that it stopped selling the spare parts in the premises but had to do it through the online store. And of Health, where many pathologies are attended by telephone and without leaving home, “covering up” on many occasions more serious pathologies that can never be discovered through the telephone line. In Education, where in order to guarantee the right to education of all students, to avoid situations of inequality and provide quality teaching within an inclusive school model, the Administration has created the Integrated Online Teaching Project, for educational attention to students with any illness or impediment to attend class in person. A project that seems fantastic to me.
But we are making everything “online” without giving ourselves the opportunity to adapt to it. Have we wondered if everything online is the most appropriate? Is the school more inclusive if we are able to serve students who cannot attend through a camera? And the presence? Is it better to do our administrative and banking procedures through digital? Are we ready to take on these challenges? Has someone shaped society or are changes ahead of society?
Unquestionably, neither families are prepared for the blended and online classes, nor are they trained to be able to solve the Administration and Banking bureaucracy without someone to assist them, guide them, and accompany them in these procedures. Many of them are not capable of autonomously managing their needs, they hardly select and filter information channels because they neither know how to distinguish “fake news” nor do they know the tools and supports they need to do so.
This is causing the number of “digital outcasts” to grow every day, because it is not that these people do not know how to use a mobile device, but rather that they are not prepared, nor have they been trained for other purposes other than to like or share messages. These digital outcasts are nothing more and nothing less than digital illiterates, because no one has trained them before.
UNESCO defines media and information literacy as training that gives us answers to questions like these: How can we access, search, critically evaluate, use and contribute content wisely, both online and offline? What are our rights online and offline? What are the ethical issues surrounding access to and use of information? How can we engage with the media and ICT to promote equality, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, peace, freedom of expression and access to information?
Unesco also states that “citizens must be provided with basic knowledge about the role of the media and information devices in democratic societies, provided that this role is properly performed and citizens can critically assess the role of the media and information devices in democratic societies. quality of the content that is transmitted. In addition, media and information literacy encompasses a set of essential skills and knowledge for citizens of the 21st century: it will, in effect, give them the possibility of participating in the media system, developing their critical spirit and acquiring knowledge throughout life to participate in the development of society and become active citizens ».
Don’t you think we have a long way to go? Do we not have to prepare citizens well before launching them into the virtual world without a parachute?