How Digital Natives Learn and Thrive in the Digital Age: Evidence from an Emerging Economy

Sustainability 12 (9):3819 (2020)
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As a generation of ‘digital natives,’ secondary students who were born from 2002 to 2010 have various approaches to acquiring digital knowledge. Digital literacy and resilience are crucial for them to navigate the digital world as much as the real world; however, these remain under-researched subjects, especially in developing countries. In Vietnam, the education system has put considerable effort into teaching students these skills to promote quality education as part of the United Nations-defined Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4). This issue has proven especially salient amid the COVID−19 pandemic lockdowns, which had obliged most schools to switch to online forms of teaching. This study, which utilizes a dataset of 1061 Vietnamese students taken from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s “Digital Kids Asia Pacific (DKAP)” project, employs Bayesian statistics to explore the relationship between the students’ background and their digital abilities. Results show that economic status and parents’ level of education are positively correlated with digital literacy. Students from urban schools have only a slightly higher level of digital literacy than their rural counterparts, suggesting that school location may not be a defining explanatory element in the variation of digital literacy and resilience among Vietnamese students. Students’ digital literacy and, especially resilience, also have associations with their gender. Moreover, as students are digitally literate, they are more likely to be digitally resilient. Following SDG4, i.e., Quality Education, it is advisable for schools, and especially parents, to seriously invest in creating a safe, educational environment to enhance digital literacy among students.



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