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44% of UK parents worry their kids lack digital skills past scrolling social media

A child using a computer

New data from Three has revealed that parents want their kids to learn more digital skills at schools because almost half worry that their kids can’t do much else with tech apart from scrolling social media feeds, which could hamstring them when they go out into the world of work.

According to the mobile carrier, 85% of parents say that digital skills should be taught with the same level of importance as reading and writing. Over the years, the UK school system has done more to include coding, but digital skills aren’t considered core lessons like English, Maths, and Science.

Further findings found that 75% of parents think learning digital skills is more practical than learning a subject like history – while knowing history is important for many jobs and character-building in general, it’s true that many jobs you’ll find will be looking for digital skills and not a deep knowledge of history.

Of the 2,000 people who were quizzed, who all have kids between the ages of 6 and 18, 44% said that they’re worried about their children’s current digital skills. Parents worry that while their children can find their way around TikTok, they might not know how to use advanced tools in Excel, image editing software, create applications, and so on.

The top skills that parents want their kids to learn at school are as follows:

  • Basic computer skills (62%)
  • Social media safety (54%)
  • Cybersecurity awareness (53%)
  • Typing skills (52%)
  • Programming (45%)

The parents who took part are not particularly skilled in technology (as you may have suspected from their answers). Only 11% said they had excellent digital skills, while 68% said they were lacking knowledge of how to protect themselves online.

Some of the parents answering the survey might be old enough to have learned typing at school as a topic, it’s not usually taught in UK schools nowadays and most people using computers or phones regularly learn how to type quickly anyway.

Sian Laffin, Head of Experience at Three UK, said:

“Digital literacy opens up a world of opportunities for children, providing them with the skills to learn, create, and communicate in new and innovative ways. Three’s Discovery programme offers workshops to schools, giving young people the chance to gain and experience the skills essential for starting their digital journey as the upcoming working generation. Our aim is to help close the digital divide and ensure children have the foundation needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”

Rather than wait for a change of curriculum in schools, Three has said that it will offer free digital skills training to children and adults in almost 300 stores across the United Kingdom as part of its Discovery programme. It will include topics such as staying safe online, creating a website, and coding.

Source: Three

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