The Unsupervised Playground – Cybersafety
Over the past 2 months we’ve been on the road speaking to hundreds of Parents and Young People on Cybersafety, online reputation and parenting in a digital world.
First of all – a big thank you to all the Schools who hosted them and the Parents who attended the sessions. We salute you! Coming out after a hard days work, on cold dark nights. ¬¬ Judging by the comments left, you found it worthwhile, with many parents asking for further support.
I’ve now seen at first hand the validation of what we originally believed to be the case – Parents who attended, welcomed the opportunity to learn more about what is happening online, how to build resilience in their children and reduce vulnerability whilst online and are very open to support and assistance on keeping their kids safe and encouraging them to use technology wisely.
An even larger percentage of parents are hoping kids figure this out on their own.
This wont stop them buying their kids the technology for Christmas. Unfortunately it will stop them making good and informed decisions on their children’s digital life.
Now, I’m not having a go at parents. I’m a parent myself and know how hard it is sometimes to find time to do everything our kids need. It’s a difficult job and we’re the first generation of parents to deal with this. But the problem of largely unintentional mis-use and unsafe use of technology by our children and young people is increasing and they need the support of mature adults to guide them in today’s increasingly digital world.
Children today are freely joining Social Networking Sites, exchanging information, connecting and sharing and developing relationships – ‘38% of all 2 year olds have used a tablet device’ (Ofcom, Media habits of Parents and Children, 2013). Early education and intervention is crucial. Children are exploring the Internet from an early age – the chances of them coming across something which may upset them is high – research has shown us that Children don’t have the resilience to cope with things which they see and experience in an online environment.
So this Christmas, if you’re going to buy your kid the devices they want and love, at least get to know the basics – awareness of risks and benefits, safety and privacy settings and attempt to get involved and have conversations with your kids about the latest trends/apps they’re using. Under your guidance children will learn to use technology for creativity, education, fun and exploration and teach us parents on the way.