Digital Skills for Today’s Kids

a line of school children using tablets and phones

The digital revolution is changing the way we think about necessary skills. Being so interconnected digitally, navigating technology, and understanding the basics about how it’s built and how it’s intended to be used is more important than ever for the next generation.

Here are several of the top tech skills for kids to consider learning that will help them thrive both now as students and in the future when they enter the workforce.

  • Coding basics. A generation ago, kids would disassemble everything from radios to cars to learn how they worked. Today, kids are doing the same thing with software and hardware. From cars to businesses, software controls it all and is continuously evolving. Being comfortable navigating software programs and keeping up with what’s possible, what’s available, and what’s around the corner are necessary skills that kids can start to learn when they’re young.
  • Artificial intelligence basics. There was a lot of chatter about kids using AI to do their homework when ChatGPT was first rolled out in 2022. Though this dream of no homework was short-lived, it turns out that learning to apply AI is still a worthwhile skill for kids to acquire. Learning how to train a computer to recognize their own images and sounds, and experimenting with neural networks in their own web browser are two ways that kids can get started working with the basics of AI.
  • Building a task within the Internet of Things (IoT). What started with computers and then moved to phones, internet capabilities continue to jump to other objects. It’s become so common place that we don’t even realize how connected everything is. Speakers, thermostats, lightbulbs, electrical outlets, appliances, and more are some of the ways we interact with the IoT. A great starting point for kids is a STEM kit such as this one from STEMpedia that teaches kids the basics of IoT, including building API requests.
  • Protecting your privacy. The giant tech companies behind social media platforms have made them so easy to use that the issue isn’t teaching kids how to use them, it’s helping kids understand a social media platform’s purpose – capturing data. Knowing that social media is designed to track their online movements in order to target them for advertising will help to positively shape the manner in which kids interact with social media from the start. Consider reviewing the privacy settings on all social media apps they use to help teach kids the importance of protecting their privacy.
  • Problem solving. With constantly-changing technology, it’s vital for kids to be able to look at problems in a logical way. Once a kid has learned a handful of technical skills, such as coding and how to work with AI, it’s then important to learn how to apply these technical skills with solving real-world problems. To help cultivate problem solving in kids, consider giving them challenging puzzles and questions to solve and encourage them to think outside-the-box when when looking for an answer.