How can we encourage kids' technology development and keep them safe from internet abuse at the same time?
It’s essential that parents are involved with their children’s use of technology and that they know what their child is doing online much like they would offline. To help with this, it’s important that parents communicate openly with their child about their online lives as much as possible. Parents should make sure they set aside time to talk children about technology to ensure that it is seen as a family pastime rather than solo and secret activity. Parents should ask their children to show or even teach them how they use the internet, and set aside time to learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. This can help us to encourage children’s positive use of technology, whilst being educated to the possible dangers they may face. Learning together can often open up opportunities to discuss safe behaviour with children and help develop a trusting and safe relationship.
I always extol the virtues of promoting a positive 'digital footprint' - especially when providing training/guidance to parents and teachers who are going to be talking to young people about their digital safety. You'll get nowhere by casting online technology in a negative light, and monitoring and blocking certain behaviour online is never the full answer. I always end my training on this issue with a Google Chrome advert showing what 20-year-old Jamal Edwards managed to acheive in just 5 years using the kind of technology that schools should be embracing.
I agree with Mr. Diamond that technology should be cast in a positive light - not something for children to fear. At the same time parents need to model the use of technology responsibly and alert children to possible dangers. In addition to teaching children about answering the door when a stranger rings the bell, they will have to add a lesson regarding strangers on the Internet.
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