DQ 101: Digital Use


How healthy is your relationship with technology? Find out as we explore the area of Digital Use.

In our Digital Intelligence 101 introduction, we shared that people experience eight critical areas of digital life: Identity, Use, Safety, Security, Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Literacy and Rights.

This article will explore how Digital Use manifests at each digital maturity level — Citizen, Creator and Competitor (if you need a refresher on these levels, check out our Intro to DQ article).

Area #2: Digital UseDigital Use

As the world advances, it’s important to acknowledge that living in a digital world is not the same as understanding it and being able to participate or affect change. Our ability to use technology is either enhanced or hindered by our level of understanding.

For example, imagine travelling to a foreign country — but you don’t know the language. Being surrounded by the language doesn’t mean you’ll learn it. Your understanding of the language shapes your experience and ability to fully participate and navigate the culture.

The same concept is true when navigating the digital world. Your level of understanding shapes the way you use technology. And in this day and age, we use it a lot.

Becoming glued to our devices is a common complaint as technology changes the way we live, work, play, and socialize in our daily lives. The endless debate about what defines a ‘healthy’ amount of screen time is always a hot topic for discussion. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and virtual home assistants, it’s hard to imagine living a day without these devices.

In many cases, we’ve come to rely on irresistible convenience, but do we really know when it’s time to log off and take a break? As we continue to use technology in our homes, workplaces and companies, it’s essential to create awareness around the time, energy and money spent in the process.

Beyond taking a critical look at amounts of screen time (or immersion) — how we use technology to improve well-being for ourselves and others is an important part of the equation.

Below is a list of three competencies areas — knowledge, skills, and attitudes — that evolve as one’s Digital Use DQ matures:

Level 1 (Citizen) = Balanced Use of Technology

This is a person’s ability to manage their online and offline life in a balanced way. This involves exercising self-control to manage screen time, multi-tasking and engagement with digital media and devices.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands the nature and impact of technology use (such as excessive screen time and multi-tasking) on health, well-being and lifestyle
    • Has the information and resources to deal with the impacts of using technology
  • Skills:
    • Able to assess health risks to better self-regulate technology use
    • Knows how to reduce technology-related issues
    • Uses time and resource management skills to successfully perform tasks and safely enjoy entertainment
  • Attitudes:
    • Uses technology with purpose-driven intentions
    • Shows integrity by staying within goals for screen time and device use
    • Develops positive relationships with others through self-regulated technology use

Level 2 (Creator) = Healthy Use of Technology

This is a person’s ability to understand the benefit — and harm — technology can have on one’s mental and physical health.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands the context that shapes debate around the impact of technology on well-being
    • Can discern how to effectively use technology for their own benefit
  • Skills:
    • Uses technology in the most efficient way
    • Has psychological awareness to identify safe, comfortable practices and equipment
    • Leverages mentally — and physically — beneficial work processes
  • Attitudes:
    • Values mental and physical health
    • Actively self-regulates personal use of technology in a healthy way

Level 3 (Competitor) = Civic Use of Technology

This is a person’s ability to engage on a civic level to advocate for the well-being and growth of local, national and global communities that use technology.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands the importance of community engagement and civic participation with technology
    • Can identify quality expectations and standards aligned with company or organization values during online activities
    • Aware of technology’s connection to well-being of local, national and global communities
  • Skills:
    • Can organize and rally a group online
    • Knows how to participate in an organized online group for affecting change
    • Equipped to participate in ongoing discussions to create shared values
    • Positively influences communities through appropriate technologies
  • Attitudes:
    • Believes and respects online civic engagement
    • Willing to become involved with technology use local communities to better their organization and society

These three sub-competencies are a solid foundation to build on as individuals, experts and organizations continue to explore the way we use digital technology. What’s your Digital Use maturity level, and what does it say about your DQ?

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