Digital skills are crucial to fully take part in society  and can help children and young people maximise the positive aspects of their engagement with digital technologies. However, researchers warn us that digital skills on their own are no guarantee of online safety. Indeed, children who possess higher digital skills can also be confronted with online risks . The figure below summarises both the main antecedents and consequences of digital skills according to the ySKILLS project . Antecedents refer to the factors that can support or hinder children’s acquisition of digital skills. Consequences refer to the ways in which digital skills can influence children and young people.
The positive consequences of digital skills
Unfortunately, we know little about the positive impact of digital skills. Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that digital skills can have a positive impact on aspects such as learning outcomes and school career, civic and political engagement or children and young people’s wellbeing .
Some evidence exists that digital skills could contribute to better learning outcomes. However, this depends on which skill is at stake (e.g., technical, information, content creation or communication skills), and what is being learned .
There is some indication that digital skills have positive effects of body image or experiences of peer victimization.
Greater digital skills seem to be linked to more online opportunities and information benefits .
Next to these positive consequences, researchers have studied whether digital skills could potentially help children and young people deal with negative experiences they face when they are online . They found that digital skills can help children and young people tackle some negative online experiences. For instance, children with higher levels of digital skills seem to be better at protecting their privacy in online environments. Research also shows that although better digital skills seem to be related to experiencing more online risks, this does not necessarily imply experiencing more harm. Just the opposite, it seems that digital skills might serve as a buffer from harm coming from online risks. This could indicate that, just as with offline resilience, some degree of adversity is necessary to build online resilience .
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