The Young and IT Literacy

The youngest generation of our planet, have pretty much grown up surrounded by technology.  My youngest son could happily use a mouse before his 2nd birthday in fact I’m pretty sure he could use it before he could walk properly. In a earlier post we highlighted some of the other life skills that adults are missing out on. However this familiarity with technology has not led to a marked increase in overall IT skills.

My children are well used to using technology, but scratch the surface and their knowledge is pretty basic.  The problem with todays technology is it’s so easy to use that you don’t really have to expand your knowledge.  A recent survey by the Prince’s trust in the UK suggested that thousands of young people have very basic IT skills.

In their survey ten percent of the young people they spoke to couldn’t send a CV online to an agency.  Nearly a quarter would dread filling in a CV or job application online.  Nearly all of these people are regular users of technology but clicking around their phone, surfing through Facebook or updating status pages doesn’t really teach any useful skills.

Computer literacy is becoming more and more vital in todays technological world.  However when I asked a group of 15 year olds some basic IT questions it was apparent to me that this literacy is sadly lacking.  In fact out of the class full I asked only one had reasonable computer knowledge.  He had learnt while trying to set up a VPN on his iPad to watch BBC Iplayer – from here, when staying in the US for his summer holidays.  This young man apart, the knowledge was limited to point and click and a knowledge of phone apps and suchlike.

Basic computer skills are not just needed for a career in IT, there is virtually no sector where it isn’t a huge advantage to have at least some computer skills. It is also a way to get into a wide variety of different careers, computer literacy is a huge asset for any employee.