Now we’ve got that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s proceed.
Tech Wise Kids
How often do you check your child’s phone or Internet usage? Do they know you check it?
How much do you know about the various different social media sites that kids are using?
Can you interpret the language and abbreviations used by kids when they comment on posts and message each other?
How much do you really know?
And what do my generation and older generations do? They criticise and roll their eyes. Create stupid memes to share on Facebook about what a ‘real’ childhood is. They call these apps and websites stupid. They somehow think that by growing up in the 80’s or the 60’s it gives them a badge of honour to tell kids these days how they should be living their lives.
Today’s teens will have more opportunities at their fingertips than any other generation before them. Technology will see to that. In just a few years our lives will be run from our smartphones and everything else will be dictated by a computer programme. But your ignorant attitude is snubbing this technology and rolling your eyes at the kids that are embracing it. Who’s the stupid one now?
The same teen showed me photos of a girl in her year at school. OMFG!!!!!! We’ll come back to this in a minute, as this did raise some Internet safety issues.
My point here is that kids are embracing new technology. You may think they are just staring at their phones or taking endless selfies, but this actually just represents how they see the world, via a smartphone. They are embracing and using technology far better than their parents or grandparents. Because that is their futures.
Automation and Robots
Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
Which brings me nicely round to the Internet safety aspects.
Whilst you are being ignorant of what Snapchat is and does or why it’s different to Instagram and not even having a clue what Periscope is, your kids are being exposed to some real, actual dangers. And most of it is there in plain sight and if you weren’t being so ignorant then you’d also see it.
Take the 14-year-olds photos I went OMFG at. She looked a good 10 years older in the photos. She had an inch of makeup on, her cleavage pushed up so there wasn’t much of it left to cover and she was posing like a page 3 model. Yes, she had a lot of likes on her photos. She also had a lot of very creepy comments, many telling her she was sexy AF, and many commenters were way older than her. If that was outside in public and a random stranger came up to your daughter and said she was sexy as fuck, what would you do? Lamp him or call the police? You certainly would not ignore it. But you do online. Why is that different?
Tip Of The Iceberg
Girls photos with inappropriate comments as I’ve previously mentioned requests for nudes or hook up arrangements (and we aren’t talking dates here or even a Netflix and chill)
Drinking, smoking, and drug taking and on Snapchat it all comes with step by step commentary too
Young teens engaged in sexual acts
Bitching, bullying, name calling, arguments and threats
Very desperate attention seeking
Don’t Cut The Cable!
Do you know all the different mainstream apps and what they are used for? Would you spot the warnings signs of online grooming? Do you know how to set yourself up a sneaky secret second account in case your kids block you?
Show An Interest
So, you don’t have the time to help protect your child online? To monitor their safety? To actually take a tiny little step in the right direction to future proofing yourself so that all this new technology may not be so baffling to you when the robots come looking for your job?
Wow! I wouldn’t go holding your breath waiting for your parent of the year award!
Why not try showing an interest in what your kids are doing? Not in an authoritative, concerned parent kind of way. But a genuine, help me out son, how do I work this app, kind of way. Ask them what the Snapchat filters are or which is their favourite. Send them a Snap. Ask them who their favourite YouTubers are and actually watch a few videos. You might be bored to tears but at least you might just grasp what a YouTuber is.
And if they say they want to start a YouTube channel, instead of laughing, why don’t you help them? Even if it’s just Googling about how to optimise a video for search engine ranking, at least it shows you are taking an interest in what they do. Or take a look at ways to monetise their channel so they can earn themselves some money. And guess what will happen then? Your kids will know that you have an understanding of all this Internet stuff and are more likely to speak to you if something they see does concern them. Now, how’s that for progress?
Now You Embrace It
I will follow this post up with some how to’s and signs to look out for but for now, can you at least download Snapchat?