Today’s children have no concept of an offline world
The internet became mainstream around the late nineties. So us adults never knew an online world as children and that makes us ‘digital immigrants’. Our children on the other hand are ‘digital natives’ who have a digital footprint from the moment they enter the world.
Most children exhibit greater technological expertise than us parents, which can make us feel intimidated at times. I was interested to discover that
56% parents ask their children for advice about technology
50% parents feel equipped to teach their children about e-safety at home (internetmatters.org 2014)
It is therefore unsurprising that we lack understanding and knowledge of the risks our children are taking online.
How often do you talk to your children about their online activities so you are unable to gauge your son or daughter’s online attitudes and behaviours?
It is no longer the case of just having a family computer in the living room. The explosion of digital devices onto the market means it is more difficult for us to monitor what our children get up to. Since 2011 the highest device sales have been for 3-4 year olds. (Ofcom 2014)
Right now we need to be talking and showing an interest in our young children’s online activities every day so that we come to understand what they like, why they like it and what they get from it. By talking about it they will realise that we are interested and they are more likely to come to us for help when things go wrong. Likewise we will also be able to identify when they are taking online risks and don’t realise it. The older they are the harder it is to do so start while they’re young.
This is why I run Growing Up Online workshops in schools bringing parents and children together. But more about that in my next blog.
So my advice for now is to get digital talking daily.