What is DQ?

8 Digital Skills We Must Teach Our Children
Digital Intelligence (DQ) is a comprehensive set of technical, cognitive, and socio-emotional competencies that enable individuals to face the challenges of and adapt to the demands of digital life.

DQ consists of 8 broad areas: digital identity, use, safety, security, emotional intelligence, communication, literacy, and rights; across 3 levels: Digital Citizenship, Digital Creativity, and Digital Entrepreneurship.

DQ thus brings together education agendas of digital literacies, with industry efforts to develop digital skills: encompassing digital citizenship, digital resilience, media and information literacy, job readiness, entrepreneurship, and more. Digital Intelligence equips individuals to become wise, competent, and responsible digital citizens who creatively use, control, and create technology to improve individual and societal dignity, prosperity, and well-being.


The ability to use digital technology and media in safe, responsible and effective ways.


The ability to become a part of the digital ecosystem by co-creating new content and turning ideas into reality by using digital tools.


The ability to use digital media and technologies to solve global challenges or to create new opportunities.

8 Digital
The first phase of the DQ educational program focused on developing digital citizenship competencies for young children aged 8 – 12 because there is an urgent need to prepare them for the digital world when they actively start engaging in digital media and devices. This age is a critical time when children typically become active on social media and are exposed to cyber risks.

Children at this age are also vulnerable as they begin to seek social inclusion. They are at the crucial stage when they start to figure out their sense of what is right and wrong, taking their first steps on a lifelong journey to build their sense of identity and discernment.

Evolved out of academic research on childhood cyber wellness and cyber security, DQ Institute identified eight core digital citizenship competencies that children need and developed the DQ Digital Citizenship.



DQ Score

DQ Score is a composite number derived from the competence level measured according to the eight core digital citizenship competencies. Similar to an IQ score, the global average is 100, with the standard deviation of 15. DQ Score is generated through DQ World.

DQ Score correlates significantly with the level of cyber risks (inverse) and personal strengths (direct).

Relationship between Online Risk Behaviours and DQ Score

For example, a DQ Score of 90 for sharing personal data translates to a 24 percent risk of a child sharing personal data.

However, increasing their DQ score to 100 reduces that risk to 17 percent, and raising their score to 110 further reduces it to 12 percent.


Relationship Between
Personal Strengths
and DQ Score


DQ Score correlates directly with psychological strengths, cognitive and social development as well as safe and responsible online behaviours.

Thickness of line represents strength of correlation.


The social and economic impact of technology in the world is widespread and accelerating. The speed and volume of digital information being transmitted have increased exponentially.

Experts are predicting that 90% of the world’s entire population will be connected to the Internet within 10 years. With the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, the digital and physical worlds will soon be merged. These changes herald exciting possibilities. But they also create uncertainty. And our kids are at the center of this dynamic change.

Besides IQ and EQ, DQTM, the Digital Intelligence Quotient, is a set of critical life skills in this digital age. DQ is the sum of technical, mental and social skills empowering individuals to deal with these challenges of living in a digital world and thrive.


for Children

We have a predicament. Born in the 21st century, our children enter a world that is hyper-connected. Their digital footprint starts from birth and they grow up immersed in the digital world.

With such intense exposure to the digital world – what they do on the Internet, whom they interact with online – greatly influences their identity, well-being and development.

The Internet is a great resource but there are also real cyber dangers including cyber-bullying, technology addiction and grooming, that often, children are left alone to navigate before they are developmentally ready. Here are some sobering statistics.


Blind Spots

0 %
of 8-17 year olds, globally, experience cyberbullying
Microsoft Online Bullying Among Youth 8-17 Worldwide 2012
0 %
of 11-16 year olds in the UK say they are addicted to the internet
Clarke, B. Dr., & Hitchenor, B. (2014). Young People’s Attitudes Towards Gaming: The
0 %
of US teens, aged 13-17 regularly receive online communication from strangers
Teen Internet Safety Survey, Wave II (2007). Cox Communications Report.Youth
0 %
of US teens, aged 13-19, have been asked to send a  “sext”
Temple, J. R., Paul, J. A., van den Berg, P., Le, V. D., McElhany, A., & Temple, B. W. (2012). Teen sexting and its association with sexual behaviors. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent
0 x
more likely are children than adults to be victims of identity theft
May, Jaime (2012). Child Identity Theft: What Parents Need to Know to Protect Their Children. All Clear ID Alert Network Report.
0 %
of parents in Singapore have had their security compromised by their children
Tham, Irene. “Children a Weak Link in Household Cyber Security.” The Straits Times, Singapore, 3 March 2016/div>


Children urgently need digital intelligence. Not being digital natives themselves, parents and teachers may not be equipped to help these children. This is especially true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This sparked the founding of DQ Institute and continues to motivate us. The Institute is committed to address the gap and #DQEveryChildTM.

The secret of future prosperity lies with our children. Helping them gain the necessary technical, mental and social skills is an important key to preparing capable, engaged digital citizens to lead this fourth industrial revolution.

Only with a critical mass of empowered citizens can we engender a healthy digital ecosystem built on trust and transparency, driving future economic development that is inclusive and sustainable.

Countries’ successful digital transformation depends on this.

Grown Ups Are
Not Immune Either
0 %
of respondents (aged 13 – 74) had been a victim of at least one online risk
(Microsoft 2017 Civility, Safety and Interaction Online).
0 %
did not know or were unsure about where to find help with an online risk
(Microsoft 2017 Civility, Safety and Interaction Online).

Children are not the ones solely exposed to cyber risks. Adults may also lack basic digital literacy and internet safety knowledge to protect themselves from online dangers. They are likewise vulnerable to privacy invasion, phishing, malware, cybercrime and other security risks.

Lapses in judgement not only puts themselves at risk, but may also expose family and friends to these dangers. Thoughtless comments made on social media and online public platforms can also quickly escalate into reputation risks and public relations nightmares.

In particular, elderly in SES families are often targets of cyber-threats like scams (involving money) and phishing, and the lack of education and training to address the growing need of protection often results in negative well-being for this group .

> 0 %
of all security incidents in businessess worldwide recognized human error as a contributing factor. This includes succumbing to phishing attacks and using easy-to-guess passwords.
(IBM 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index).
> 0 %
of survey participants said they do not know much about protecting themselves online with 11.5 percent admitting that they know nothing and need help.
(Mozilla 2017 Privacy Survey)