Safer Internet Day: Discuss the internet with your kids

Tuesday is Safer Internet Day, and I was, up until tonight preparing to write a post about how to keep your children / teens safer on the internet.

However I was tweeted (from MediocreMum) a link to an article about 5 Myths About Teens and Technology Every Parent Should Ignore, the article appeared earlier this month on HuffPost Parents Blog written by Liz Perle.

The article covers everything and more that I was going to touch on but the main bits I would highlight are:

  • If you think your child isn't using the internet or social media then you are mistaken
  • Teens are not addicted to social media, they are addicted to connecting with each other (social media is just the modern tool they use to do this)
  • Text speak etc is not making them stupid, infact it is helping them develop skills and references and article with some very interesting points, such as it helps them improve note taking, and improve phonology.
  • If parents want to help teens develop rich, healthy relationships as adults, we need to teach them complete social etiquette, and social media is one of these! 
  • Finally a myth is that teens are careless about online privacy, most teens have grown up with social media and know very well how to be private online.

That final point for me is key, since the eldest become a teen, the wife and I have discussed the use of social media with our eldest and feel that she has a great understanding of her privacy online and when its write to share something privately or when it best to keep that comment to yourself or send a private message instead.

The only point I can stress to any parent concerned about privacy of their children / teens and making sure that they stay safe online is to openly discuss the use of social media and the internet with them, ensuring the understand the consequences of what they are typing.  

I would love to know your thoughts on this article and hope like me you will think twice before forcing your kids to have a period of time away from their phones (I'm talking days not hours here).