How well do you really know your child’s digital story? Read this post to learn the importance of raising your kids to be smart digital citizens.
A long while back I wrote a post called, “What’s Your Digital Story“. At that time, my purpose was to encourage people, bloggers and business owners to conduct themselves respectfully online and also to show them how to monitor and manage their online reputations. With the extremely rapid onset of mobile device usage by children it’s imperative for parents and caregivers to not only understand their Child’s digital story but to also positively influence it. We all know that Kids do not learn everything at school – education must start and continue at home.
Let’s face it, we all know people with children. Almost all of us are aunts, uncles, caregivers, parents, coaches, educators, volunteers or at the very least see kids on TV actively engaged with a device. The majority of the world population is in tune to the reality that kids are digitally connected to the point of almost being freakishly digitally connected.
Personally, I have witnessed babies, tiny babies watching videos on smart phones. Exposing children to technology from birth is pretty much inevitable as Stats Canada’s report titled, “The Internet and Digital Technology“, released in Nov. 2017, indicates that 76% of Canadians own a smart phone.
It’s the norm to walk into the toy section at any given outlet and see a vast selection of electronic devices targeted for the ‘early years development’ of toddlers and preschoolers. Some devices are even pre-loaded with custom built software and gaming applications that are
categorized as deemed to be ‘age appropriate’.
Most know that Google took over the classroom. In school it’s common for each kid to have a Google account that is connected to the school’s master Google Enterprise (G Suite) account. Google’s G Suite is a brand of cloud computing, productivity & collaboration tools plus software and other products. The school kids learn to use this web-based platform from kindergarten in some instances. Which ultimately, put Google, and the tech economy, at the center of one of the great debates that has raged in American education for more than a century.
I don’t know about you but I don’t remember my child coming home with a privacy disclaimer or terms of service for my review prior to opening the school Google account which uses their name? What information is Google and/or the school board collecting and ‘owning the rights to’ that our children are creating?
By the age of 12 years old 50% of kids have Social Media accounts. Considering that the major platforms like Facebook and Instagram require users to be at least 13 years old to sign up – who is authorizing the kids to create social media accounts at 12 years old or younger?
Why does a child under 12 years old need to engage in conversation on social media?
In 2017, Disney ‘modernized’ the retro “Mickey Mouse Club”. Cool right? Perhaps if you want your kids streaming it as a ‘Facebook Show”. Yes, that is right the new show called “Club Mickey Mouse” hosts exclusive content for kids on Facebook and Instagram. Whose Facebook account will your kids watch Club Mickey Mouse from? Will you create your kids their own personal profile on Facebook or perhaps let them access your personal Facebook account to watch Club Mickey Mouse?
On the other hand, being advocates for education in STEM is vital to the future success of our planet. Encouraging our kids to participate in programs like the HackerGals #Hackathon enables them to Learn to Code and experience the importance of such events.
But as a parent where should we drawn the digital line?
Is there any supporting evidence or research studies to support our children’s digital uptake? Are our Governments reserving any funds to educate parents and caregivers on the best digital practices for our kids or perhaps just throwing up simple web pages with some basic information and Do-it-yourself House Rules for Online Privacy. Which, I admit to finding the online privacy rules in the checklist very valuable and am currently using a modified version of.
Luckily, some people do care. How ironic is it that people who contributed to the successes of platforms like Facebook are now uniting to launch a campaign to put pressure on technology companies to make their products less addictive and manipulative. “Truth About Tech” is the brainchild of the Center for Humane Technology, a group of former Facebook and Google employees dedicated to “reversing the digital attention crisis and realigning technology with humanity’s best interests” and is funded by Common Sense, a not-for-profit that promotes safe technology and media for children.
In November 2017, Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, said the social network knew from the outset it was creating something that exploited a “vulnerability in human psychology”.
Others are saying, “It’s time to support a safer relationship with the Internet“. Citing that “fake news to cyberbullying, the internet is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for schoolchildren and that much more can be done educate, engage and protect the next generation from harm”.
At the end of each day, our job as a parent or guardian is to ensure that our kids digital story is and remains a positive one.
What is your opinion about under age kids using social media?