What is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy is defined as the ability of the individual to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. While literacy (being able to read and write) has been an important educational aspect of the modern society, in the 21st century the digital world requires from an individual to also be digitally literate in order to perform every-day life tasks. A differentiation is made between the digital skills and digital literacy. Digital skills refers to knowledge of existing tools, when to use them and how to use them. Digital literacy goes beyond the technical proficiency, as it also encompasses the full range of issues, norms and habits of mind surrounding technologies used for a particular purpose (e.g. online security, legal/illegal content, true/fake identity).

Video explanation of digital literacy:

  1. Oxford University Press – Digital Literacy.
  2. The Audiopedia –Digital literacy meaning and explanation.


Examples of what people with digital literacy problems experience in everyday life:

(1) Aaron Smith – Older adults and technology use (report).

(2) WatchTheDaily – Granny tech: how to use FaceTime.



  1. US Digital Literacy:
  2. European Commission. Human capital: Digital Inclusion and Skills, 2017. Url:
  3. Mervyn K, Simon A, Allen DK. Digital inclusion and social inclusion: a tale of two cities. Information, Communication & Society, 2014, 17:9, pp.1086-1104, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2013.877952.
  4. Watling S. Digital exclusion: coming out from behind closed doors. Disability & Society, 2011, 26(4), pp.491-495.
  5. Barnard Y, Bradley MD, Hodgson F, Lloyd AD. Learning to use new technologies by older adults: Perceived difficulties, experimentation behaviour and usability. Computers in Human Behaviour 29, 2013, pp.1715-1724. DOI: