Update your digital skills to stay connected

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(NC) With many of us planning to spend more time at home this winter to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, most of our social interactions will be virtual. But if you don’t feel confident with all things digital, it can be hard to participate and feel connected. To start honing your skills, try these key tips:

1. Start with a small goal. Don’t set yourself up for failure and frustration by wanting to do it all at once. If you’re just starting out, set yourself a small achievable goal, like sending your kids or grandkids an email. If you’re more advanced, aim to master a new software program or platform, like InDesign or WordPress. Depending on your goal and level of expertise, you can find resources online or among friends and family.

2. Understand the basics. Even if you think you’re beyond the basics, it’s important to make sure you have a solid foundation on which to build. Familiarize yourself with the general terminology of the digital world, including words like ISP, cookies and anti-virus software. You’ll also want to learn best practices for staying safe online, such as never opening an email from an unknown sender and looking for secure “https” sites when entering personal or financial information.

3. Access free learning resources. A great resource is Youth Teaching Adults, a new digital literacy program that offers free downloadable lesson plans on tools like Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp and other apps. These step-by-step lesson plans are written in clear language to make it easy for anyone to learn how to use these tools.