DQ is the capacity to be aware of, participate and contribute in the digital economy for professional and personal reasons.

Anjana Deepak
DQ is the capacity to be aware of, participate and contribute in the digital economy for professional and personal reasons.

Today’s children are all about technology. The minute they are old enough to grasp things in those little fingers you’ll probably see them messing with an iPad or mobile phone, pressing the keys or scrolling through those screens. Little do they know that digital technology will play a huge role in their futures. We are all familiar with IQ – Intelligence Quotient and have evaluated our children’s IQs by qualified experts.

So what is IQ? It’s nothing but a standardised test usually given to a same age group of people designed to assess the person’s ability to think and reason which can often be critical in many phases of ones life.

As humans we are bound to work with other people and hence came about ‘EQ’ or ‘Emotional quotient’. For some, emotional intelligence became more important than IQ as just having facts and figures was not enough. It became important to develop mature emotional intelligence skills to better understand, empathize and negotiate with other people as the economy has become more global and success would elude those who didn’t have EQ.

Digitization has brought about what is called ‘DQ’ or ‘Digital Intelligence quotient ’. Apart from IQ and EQ, DQ is important in today’s world as everything is technologically driven. DQ is the capacity to be aware of, participate and contribute in the digital economy for professional and personal reasons.

Technology brings change and a lot of us are stubborn towards change. But we need to keep abreast with technology to be able to participate in an increasingly digital world which is fast covering news, online shopping, personal fitness, communication, education, etc. If we do not embrace change and develop a certain level of digital intelligence, we will be precluded from these services.

DQ has been tried and tested by over 500,000 students and is poised to launch in 17 different countries.

Kids, especially, should keep up with digitization as their success depends on it. Imagine a child not knowing how to operate a computer or an iPad? These things play an important role in their lives as they are being fast integrating as part of their education.

Keeping our children cyber-safe is a huge priority. So we go and search for educational sites where children can learn and have fun without being worried about online dangers like cyber bullying, identity thefts and online predators to name a few.


One such place is the DQ Institute. The institute was founded by Dr. Yuhyun Park and was developed in collaboration with Stanford University, Iowa State University, Yonsei University and Singapore’s National Institute of Education and Nanyang Technological University, among others. The Institute has its roots in Seoul, Korea. The DQ World’s online education programme has improved children’s DQ score and helped minimise the impact of children’s risks online.

DQ institute has achieved many feathers in its cap since its inception. It has developed the world’s first DQ assessment metrics,  has twice been the UNESCO award winning programme, has been tried and tested by over 500,000 students and is poised to launch in 17 different countries.

The Goal of the DQ Institute

In today’s hyper- connected digital world children will either become leader’s who create new possibilities with the advancing technology or become passive followers and consumers of technology. Their DQ will determine which of these categories they fall into.

DQ’s goal is to empower every child to be the master of technology and help create new opportunities for a better future anchored in strong identities and positive values.

The 3 Levels of digital intelligence

The first level is DQ Citizenship where children use digital technology in effective and responsible ways.

Second is DQ Creativity where children learn to co- create new ideas and turn them into a reality and help them become a part of the digital eco- system by using new technologies and media.

And last but not the least DQ Entrepreneurship where they are able to bring a change and solve problems.

There are 8 different aspects of Digital citizenship, most of which are overlooked as focus is on creativity and entrepreneurship. It becomes very important for children to know their digital identity and be aware of the safety and security measures or they will be exposed to various digital risks.

In today’s hyper- connected digital world, children will either become leader’s who create new possibilities with the advancing technology or become passive followers and consumers of technology.

The institute has formulated 8 topics to make sure that children can effectively, safely and responsibly use digital media and technologies before they become creators or developers.

The topics that are included are Digital Citizen Identity, Screen Time Management, Digital Footprint Management, Cyber Bullying Management, Digital Empathy, Critical Thinking, Privacy Management and Cyber Security Management.

Learning from DQ is a platform provided for children to play and learn online (online and mobile e-learning app) unlocking rewards and achievements as they move forward. It provides a conducive environment that does not require close supervision from either parents or teachers for learning and absorbing lessons.

It is recommended for kids between the ages of 9-12 years.

Through this programme every child will have his/her own digital intelligence competency assessed through a DQ profile.

On joining the DQ programme, a preliminary assessment is made by creating a DQ profile on, after the assessment of the child’s DQ competencies they are engaged in a DQ online program and on completion of it a DQ profile is again generated which is used to compare the results with the preliminary assessment to see how well the child has learnt and progressed.

The assessments are done using surveys, quizzes, interactive activities and through mobile chats by communicating through comic characters. This fun way of learning helps the DQ profiling of the child and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their digital intelligence.

The fun learn and play online platform is built on a sound curriculum and provides a safe online environment for children to self- learn the skills for digital intelligence through gamification. The was tried and tested on over 90,000 children in Singapore and South Korea and has been highly rated by the children themselves.

DQ helps parents and educators bridge the gap between themselves and children by providing digital tools that help them understand the language that today’s kids speak in. Also in guiding children in their quest for digital intelligence.

Schools can introduce the online program and since its designed to be a self- learning tool it can be assigned as ‘Homework’ and can be reinforced in classrooms with the help of workbooks and a teacher’s guidance.

DQ has 3 educators’ programmes, DQ self- learning program, DQ classroom program and DQ school- wide program.

It also helps home schooled children by providing a safe way to acquire the knowledge and skills for digital intelligence.

DQEveryChild™ aims to reach 20 million children aged 8-12 years by 2020.

In association with the DQ Institute, the World Economic Forum will explore the integration of a Global DQ Index – measuring the average DQ™ across participating countries – within one of its main annual reports.

DQEveryChild™ is a combination of online education tools and real-time assessment which is free for every child globally, and can be easily ‘plugged’ into any national or school curriculum via the platform.  

The curriculum of 20 lessons totalling over 15 hours is delivered through story-telling and gamified design, which makes learning interactive and fun and encourages a positive attitudinal shift and behaviour.  At the end of each lesson, children take an online real-time assessment that provides DQ scores for each of the skills acquired.

DQ helps parents and educators bridge the gap between themselves and children by providing tools of digital technology, helping them understand the language that today’s kids speak in.

Children are ‘scored’ against a range of criteria – such as sharing personal data; meeting online strangers; online sexual behaviours; exposure to violent content; cyberbullying and game addiction – with the average DQ score for each set at 100.

Focusing on DQ has been identified as an impactful and effective method for improving digital citizenship by the World Economic Forum. The alliance includes national governments, leading NGOs and ICT companies who are committed to digital citizenship and digital literacy.  

More than a dozen countries are already pledging their support for the movement in 2017, including Argentina, India, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and the US. Other members include the World Economic Forum, Singtel, the Varkey Foundation, Google, and LG U+.

How does DQ programme handle children’s online risky behaviours

Included in the program is a unique system to detect a child’s exposure to various cyber-risks. In addition, it can diagnose their parents’ digital media mediation style as well as assess support being provided by teachers and schools through internet safety education.

A reporting system will be included in the platform which can be triggered both voluntarily by the child (via a request for support) and when exposure to risk factors are detected. This system will provide a timely and easily accessible avenue of support through the online platform.

In Singapore, they will work with a Singaporean government agency to connect their reporting system to the government’s e-counselling system. A 2014 e-counselling study conducted by the National Institute of Education has proven to be effective in increasing happiness, self-regulation and lowering negative emotions of children exposed to cyber-risks. In other words, timely intervention is critical.

DQ is currently exploring options with the government of India if they would like to connect the system with their national counselling program or law enforcement as an intervention program for children at high risks.

More specifically, in the case of Singapore, DQ World's online education programme improved children's DQ score, on an average, from 93 to 106 - a 14% increase. Moreover, it has proven to minimise children's risky online behaviour, and maximise their personal strengths, such as critical thinking and empathy. For example, with a DQ of 93, a child is at 24% risk of sharing personal data online, however, with a DQ of 106, this risk is halved to 12%. Please refer image below.

Relevance and scope of DQ in India

DQ is very relevant for all Indian students as the nation is going through a digital transformation. DQ enables students to make discerning and deliberate choices that maximize the benefits of technology while mitigating cyber risks such as technology addiction, fake news, cyber bullying, online radicalisation. It is fundamental to a person’s ability to use technology and live happily, successfully and responsibly in the digital world.

DQ will help Indian students level up their ability to thrive in the fast changing digital world, leading them to shape the future of their own lives and the entire nation with well-being, security and economic growth.

It is very important to ensure that every child in India is safely and meaningfully connected online. Educationally, it is important to empower children with digital competencies that can enable them to minimize cyber risks while maximizing opportunities arising from technology.

This platform can be easily incorporated within any public education system and be used by any teacher in India:

  • At its most basic, it allows for self-learning & play with minimal support from teachers or parents
  • More detailed assessments are available for parents who want to get more involved in their child’s DQ education
  • Additional teaching resources have been created to allow teachers to use the programme proactively, incorporating DQ World in their classroom as an integral part of lessons & assessment

Likewise schools can use the assessment and metrics as part of school wide DQ programmes.

In India, DQ had an initial discussion with State of Rajasthan and had plans to engage with the private and public sectors to bring the program nation-wide within 3 years to support India to raise the national DQ significantly and inclusively.

Dr Yuhyun Park, founder of the #DQEveryChild™ movement, said:

“In the hyper-connected world we live in, children as young as 8 years old critically need DQ to be smart and responsible users of technology.

These children are the first generation born and raised in a digital world, and they need to learn digital skills for the future.  But they are often exposed to various cyber dangers, such as cyber- bullying, fake news, online grooming and radicalization, and are left alone to navigate the negative side effects of technology.

Children need help to navigate this landscape safely. Just like we need a driving license before we can drive on the roads, children need digital education before they start using digital media and technology.”

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of ScooNews magazine. Subscribe to ScooNews Magazine today to have more such stories delivered to your desk every month. 

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