In 2022, the internet and easier access to it gives us – and our kids – a world of information at our fingertips. Knowing how to navigate this resource, analyze it, and use it safely is critical to our mental and physical health.
For this reason, 4 of the most important skills for kids to learn in 2022 are:
- Critical thinking
- Learning how to learn
- Cybersecurity, and
- Online responsibility
These 4 important skills to teach your kids in 2022 are well-suited to our modern world. Each will help protect your children and help them learn and grow, safely and on their own terms.
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking can be defined as objective analysis and evaluation to form a judgment.
At a certain age, we often see that kids believe what they are told by adults, whether their parents, teachers, or other adults they meet along life’s path. Nobody is correct one hundred percent of the time, though. And a lot of what we perceive to be true could more accurately be described as opinion, if not entirely false.
Being guided by emotions and instincts can be valuable, but more and more frequently, our kids will need the elements of critical thinking. These thought processes will help kids wade through the ocean of misinformation out there and come to their own conclusions.
Teaching kids to think clearly and rationally and make logical connections can help keep them safe. It can help them navigate the polarizing and potentially deadly maze of fake news that has ensnared so much of the population. And critical thinking could improve the quality of their lives and those around them. The planet could do with more clear, rational thinkers right now, so it’s important to help create some.
2. Learning How to Learn
Ironically, learning to be an effective learner is not something that happens in schools often enough. The sooner you can help your kids learn how to learn, the more rewarding they will find learning, whether that means Montessori, a traditional grade school, homeschooling, college or university, or private study.
Here are a few tips to help your child get started.
- Use memory improvement techniques. These include using mnemonics, creating colorful mind maps, self-testing, and appreciating that the brain processes and stores information during sleep.
- Help your kids identify the most effective learning style for them. Some kids learn best by reading facts in books, while others prefer hands-on experiential learning. Others need to hear about a subject and express it verbally to consolidate their learning.
According to researcher Judy Willis, learning in different ways leads to the brain storing data about a subject in multiple regions, making it more accessible later. This information is learned rather than only memorized.
- Encourage your child to teach you what they’ve learned. The repetition will help solidify the information and deepen their understanding. This is one of the goals of putting learning in your own words and presenting information to a class of peers.
While the internet is a great tool, it does come with risks, including scammers, fraudsters, and predators. To make the most of all the good things about modern technological interconnectivity, it’s necessary to teach our kids how to spot these bad actors and keep themselves safe.
Without wanting to scare kids into trauma, it’s nonetheless necessary to be clear about the potential dangers of internet use. Digital threats are increasingly prevalent and we must combat them, starting with awareness.
You can start by proactively sharing these facts and tips with your kids.
- Spam is frequently easily identifiable by terrible spelling and grammar (an excellent reason for kids to master spelling and grammar), urgency and deadlines, and URLs that deliberately misspell well-known business names.
- Kids should not share personally identifiable, private information online. These include your physical address, birth date, or account numbers. Kids should always talk to a parent or guardian if an individual or business requests this kind of information.
- URLs that begin https or have padlocks are more secure than those that do not.
- Anyone can create a fake profile online. An online predator may pose as a child or teenager to gain the trust of a child and solicit confidential information to commit fraud or to obtain sexual images. Consider frank and open discussions about the real existence of online predators if your child will be using the internet.
- You can confirm an individual’s name, address, occupation, and more by using Nuwber. A child should always consult with an adult before engaging in any communication with an unfamiliar individual online. The parent or guardian can gather more details about the individual using Тгциук or social media platforms.
- Kids must be cautious about posting online. Text, audio, and images posted online never go away. They may be deleted or become invisible to certain users, but they never really go away. In addition to being downloadable and shareable, they can remain on one or more servers indefinitely.
4. Online Responsibility
The internet is a tool that can help our kids choose their own learning paths. However, we must teach our kids that not everything on the internet is created equal. You can demonstrate this by teaching them how easy it is to create a website. Anyone can create a professional-looking website in minutes using a service like Wix or Weebly.
Have your child create content that is meaningful to them. This might be a page about a favorite hobby, place, or personality. Take the opportunity to ensure they understand that anyone can create such content without fact-checking and upload it. We have a responsibility to ensure that our content is accurate, legal, and moral.
Teaching about online responsibility may help reduce the amount and the effects of cyberbullying, which can often go unnoticed compared to bullying that occurs in person. This is one of the major abuses of the internet that is likely to affect our kids. According to broadband search, almost nine out of ten young people have witnessed cyberbullying. And six out of ten teenagers have experienced it for themselves.
These 4 skills can give kids psychological and technical tools to develop according to their abilities and interests. With a grounding in critical thinking, effective learning techniques, cybersecurity awareness, and online responsibility, we can help our kids follow their passions and dreams.