Broadcasting Commission taking steps to increase digital literacy
Efforts are being taken by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) to establish a digital literacy skills framework for Jamaica, which will equip citizens, particularly children, to make better decisions when using the internet.
Executive Director of the BCJ, Cordel Green, said the entity is working in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Mona School of Business and SlashRoots Foundation, to develop the framework.
“We, at the Broadcasting Commission, recognise the need for a framework, because what we are discussing is transversal and really cuts across sectors…. digital literacy should not be targeted solely at children. Digital literacy has to cut across the entire society because, what we have all described, is low levels of digital literacy,” he said.
Green was addressing a forum hosted by the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) on Thursday at the Montego Bay Community College in St. James, under the theme: ‘Children, Sex and the Media’.
He explained that the digital literacy framework will act as a blueprint to determine how media, information, technology and digital literacy are addressed.
“We have actually done baseline data, which is telling us what the strengths and weaknesses are on the part of the Jamaican people,” he shared.
Green said that the BCJ has also collaborated with internet safety website, Getsafe UK Limited, to establish a Getsafe Online Jamaica website, which provides factual and easy-to-understand information to parents and children about online safety.
Meanwhile, Green expressed concern that the new media landscape, which is increasingly influencing the behaviour of children, falls outside of its regulatory framework.
He said he is “convinced that the most challenging aspects of media in the digital economy and society is not about traditional media but the new forms of media.”
“Cable is not regulated the same as let us say, free-to-air television and radio, and print is dealt with in a very different way. So, to introduce the concept of social media falling within the regulatory framework should not raise any spectre of concern about freedom of expression,” he said.
Public Education and Special Projects Manager at the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), Latoya Minott Hall, said that the agency is now revamping its ‘Be Social, Be Smart Campaign’ to better tackle the increased reports of children using devices to view and spread pornography.
She said the OCA has found that students have been using their devices to engage with strangers online.
“We had gone into the schools to find out on our own, what was the driving force behind some of the increases in some of these reports that we have been getting. Some of the information that we have gotten is that a number of children were engaging with strangers without the knowledge of their parents… and it is just proof … that psychologically, children have become different because of their exposure,” she said.
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