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Should parents' online knowledge be tested?

3 years ago

1 expert and 4 parents have answered

Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK

Kids' online privacy, what they access online, what they buy online: ultimately, they're all your responsibility, one way or another. So surely making sure parents are fit to educate their children about the interwebs is not only much needed, but long overdue? (That's rhetorical, the answer is 'well, duh'.)

We've been going on about it for months now! To educate your kids, you must first educate yourself. A study by Plymouth university found a vast majority of parents would happily take part in assessments to help identify gaps in their online knowledge – which they would, presumably, fill by visiting a stylish and cool repository of online parenting knowledge – and so pass on their knowledge to keep their kids safe online.

It's generally accepted that schools should be picking up the slack with this stuff too, but sexting education begins at home, as the saying might go. Really, a lot of children's online exploration is done at home – so the explanation should too, right? I don't see there being any harm in pointing out where parents need to educate themselves first. My only worry is whether parents who don't already keep an eye on their kid's web usage will be swayed to do so by this. Or that the test could, in the future, tie into how our web is filtered by ISPs (sorry, bit tinfoil hat).

4 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon Editor-in-chief of Kent, UK

I'm surprised that the vast majority of the parents surveyed said they'd be happy to take part in tests! I think it's great that parents are willing to be (potentially) humbled and maybe even embarrassed by gaps in knowledge in order to then fill those gaps. Obviously a big driver in our work is is to help parents stay up to date and find out about all the cool stuff out there (as well as the headline grabbing things to fret about), so I'm all for parents being open to this type of thing. I'm just surprised because it's so easy to feel criticised and then get defensive with anything to do with your parenting skills and knowledge! I wonder how many of our members here would be open to this?

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Kate Stevenson expert
Kate Stevenson Community Manager NZ
E-safety expert

I'm also surprised at the willingness of tests! At the end of the day I think communities (like this) and word of mouth sharing are the best ways to learn and disseminate information.

The online world is always changing and this can be daunting for anyone - there's always a new app/site/game and often you need to know what to look for in a Privacy Policy to really know what is going on.

I don't think there can be a quick fix in terms of online education for parents (or kids) but it'll continue to be an ongoing multi pronged approach of messages from parents, schools, online environments and peers.

In my experience, parents are often too busy to engage with their online kids' activities until there is an 'incident' that requires the parent and child to work together. Finding ways to grow this parent-child connectedness around online activities would really help to strengthen those communications so that conversations can happen earlier and be preventative.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Kristin Bennett McNeely
Kristin Bennett McNeely Techie Designer Mom Seattle, Washington

Might as well make it into a game where we earn badges and whatnot...or something like Lumosity where we earn points and can compare our skills etc. Only problem is there is a lot of debate about a lot of what "safe" means. Some say it means "don't talk to strangers" and some say to only have computer in open room. Some say reach out to experts to learn more (when researching) which would lead to lots of stranger interaction, so who is to decide the "right" way?

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Gary Hough
Gary Hough Regulatory Manager & Post Punk GB

There's some great little test for parents here at Know the Net give it a go and see what you score and no cheating :-)

Don't be too hard on yourselves if you get less than 100% even those who have worked in the Internet industry all their lives and live and breathe the internet get low scores on some of these tests. Cough! LOL

1 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago

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