Digital media users in Indonesia are mostly perceived as content and information consumers circulating in cyberspace. However, the ability to use digital media critically has begun to emerge to be developing at various levels of society.
This finding results from national research conducted by the Digital Literacy Activists Network (Japelidi) during 2019. The study performed in 18 cities, and involved a total of 2,280 respondents, strives to draw the digital literacy competencies of Internet users in Indonesia.
Ni Made Ras Amanda, as Japelidi National Research Coordinator said this research is an effort to draw the extent of Indonesian people's competence in digital media. According to her, this mapping is crucial because the increasing number of Internet penetration in Indonesia and society will not perceive digital devices as new with its foreign term.
"The ability to use digital devices should be followed by useful information management skills. This research proposes to map which skills the digital media user community has mastered and which competencies need to be further improved," he said on Tuesday (8/9).
In this research, the Japelidi team divided ten digital literacy competencies into four categories: skills to consume information functionally, skills to consume critically, functional processing skills (production), and critical processing skills. Based on the data collected, the highest score is on functional consuming skills. This condition indicates that most of the new society uses digital media only to find information. Meanwhile, the lowest score was on production skills, which involved critical thinking skills.
"Even though it has a lower tendency, our findings reveal that some people can think critically both when consuming information and producing information. What is interesting is not only the respondents from the higher-level education that tend to have critical skills, but respondents with a lower level of education also have good critical competence," said the Lecturer of Communication Sciences at Udayana State University Denpasar.
Meanwhile, based on the age level, users over 55 years of age have a lower literacy level than younger generations, and users aged 21-36 have the highest literacy competence. In terms of occupation groups, retirees and housewives have lower literacy levels. According to Manda, another finding worth noting is that there is no difference in digital literacy levels between male and female respondents. "Besides, based on the monthly expenditure, the digital literacy level has also spelled no difference," she added.
Manda said this research explains that all society levels are responsible for improving digital literacy competencies in the end. She also hopes that people are better able to use social media to channel creativity, participation, and collaboration so that they do not only perform as consumers but also message producers.
Japelidi, the organizer of this research, is a digital literacy activist community consisting of 167 academics from 82 universities spread across 32 cities in Indonesia, including UGM. In this Indonesian Society Digital Literacy Mapping Research, 86 researchers from 50 universities in Indonesia participated. The research was conducted in 18 cities throughout Indonesia.
Novi Kurnia, as a Coordinator of Japelidi, added that digital literacy competency mapping research is the second research conducted by Japelidi to determine competencies that deserve attention for future program development. Meanwhile, Japelidi's first research was completed in 2017 to draw the digital literacy movement in terms of actors, target groups, programs, and partners as the basis for Japelidi's collaboration with other stakeholders.
"We intentionally launch the results of this research to coincide with World Literacy Day. Despite literacy, we feel that we need to highlight digital literacy so that Indonesian people will evolve in media, primarily through digital media and the Internet," said the UGM Communication lecturer.
Translator: Natasa A