In today’s world, technology is all around us. If you’re one of the many people living without digital literacy, computers and the internet actually become more of a barrier to communication than a convenience.
Since the pandemic, many important tasks have moved online. For example; medical paperwork, job applications, banking, applying for government assistance, accessing important news, receiving education, and more are all completed digitally. Many jobs require basic digital skills as well. In fact, 70% of jobs require medium to high levels of digital literacy.*
In 2023, 16% percent of working-age adults lack digital literacy. Because of this, many everyday tasks are unnecessarily challenging for them. Our vision at LBN is to see all people in Erie and Niagara Counties become literate, and that includes digital literacy.
So, What is Digital Literacy?
Digital literacy is the ability to use technology and navigate online resources. It requires knowledge of how to operate both physical devices and the software systems inside them. When someone is digitally literate, they’re able to use computers, smartphones, tablets and the internet with ease.
Who Struggles with Digital Literacy?
Many of our neighbors in Erie and Niagara Counties struggle to use computers and the internet. However, low digital literacy does not touch everyone equally, affecting:
- 11% of White Adults**
- 22% of Black and African American Adults**
- 28% of Adults Aged 55 – 65**
- 36% of Foreign-Born Adults**
- 41% of Adults Without a High School Diploma**
It’s important to start bridging these demographic gaps. We can do this by supporting people from all cultures and backgrounds.
How Can You Help? Refer People in Need to Digi-Skills
At LBN, we have launched a new digital literacy program called Digi-Skills. The program is designed to help adults learn how to use computers and other devices, navigate the internet, search for jobs online, create and use email, keyboarding, and so much more. Digi-Skills has both a drop-in center option as well as an online education option through Northstar Digital Literacy.
The Digi-Skills drop-in center program provides free 1-on-1 tutoring in basic computer skills at various libraries around Erie and Niagara Counties. No appointment or registration is needed, students can simply show up and someone from our team will be ready to help. We can assist students with a variety of tasks, from setting up an email to creating a resume.
View the full list of our session locations and hours here. We’re always adding new sessions, so be sure to check back in if your local library is not listed yet.
The Digi-Skills online education program is an easy-to-use training system hosted through Northstar Digital Literacy. This free program will take students through computer, internet, and email basics. As the students progress, they can start to learn more software skills like Microsoft Office products, Mac OS and Windows operating systems. Digi-Skills online also offers programs on topics like telemedicine, K-12 distance learning, social media, and information literacy.
This program option is 100% online and can be completed at the drop-in centers or from home. LBN team members will serve as proctors to students and be able to help them through the program, providing guidance and additional support when needed.
To learn more about the Digi-Skills adult education program and Northstar Digital Literacy, check out our Programs page.
*Addressing digital literacy and other reasons for non-adoption of Broadband. Rockefeller Institute of Government. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2022.
View Document >
**Mamedova, S. (n.d.). In the United States stats in brief – national center for education. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
View Document >