" INNOVATION IN EDUCATIONAL ENTREPRENEURISM HAS THE POWER TO UNLOCK INFINITE OPPORTUNITY."- JOSEPHINE BUYS, CO-FOUNDING CEO, INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING BUREAU (IAB SA) AND DIGITAL MEDIA LITERACY ADVOCATE
As a media and marketing pioneer, throughout my career I have been at the forefront of lightning speed change in the advertising and media landscape, from representing several top newspaper and magazine publishers, as they migrated online, to co-founding CEO of the first and only Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB SA) in Africa.
As a co-founder of the initiative to have ‘universal access to the internet’ considered and declared ‘a basic human right’ in collaboration with the SA Human Rights Council, I have developed a passion for online education and training for the youth in South Africa (and across the globe), to give them hope and opportunity in the 4IR.
GenZ has become the largest generation (since millennials and baby boomers respectively), and they have unprecedented access to just about anything online and with that, there is a pressing need to teach youth to use tech for good and educate them about navigating their digital footprint, to question who they want to/will be online, their reputation etc. For this they need to develop DQ, digital citizenship which ensures responsible technology usage; essential to helping students achieve and understand digital literacy, as well as ensuring cyberbullying prevention, online safety, digital health, etc.
Given the blended models of education which emerged during the closed borders of the pandemic, it’s clear that business models of education need to adapt as students gravitate towards the flexibility of anytime, anywhere vs the traditional student faculty model. We can now expand the reach of access to education to the very people who are going to build our economy and become our future leaders.
However, the social and emotional challenges that emerge from misuse of technology change faster than teachers or parents can manage, and we need to educate our students about the ever-changing risks associated with technology. While institutions of education are trying their best to keep up, I believe the private sector needs to support their endeavours.
This is why I’m a digital media literacy advocate for programs that empower students to minimise their risk online by teaching them about online privacy (settings), cyber security, and bullying. Targeting tight niches of age groups building trust and triggering different thinking at each stage of their digital footprint enables them to better understand what the real online threats and dangers are. With that understanding, learners (parents and teachers) are able to make better and more informed choices to ensure their online safety and security, while being mindful of the mental health challenges (and opportunities), as we move into the era of the metaverse.