Chloe Shorten writes for Mamamia.
If you’re a parent of a minor and are concerned about what your children are seeing and doing on the internet, you’re not alone.
I’m a concerned parent too. Since my kids could turn on a Mac I’ve been advised to be in the same room as my children when they are online. Brilliant advice if your children are operating a desktop computer in the lounge room, not so helpful with the increasing use of mobile devices – tablets, smartphones and now watches. While I love the Dick Tracy of it all, it begs the question who can watch the watch-wearer 24/7?
— chloe shorten (@chloeshorten) July 20, 2015
Great things do happen online – kids connect, share their work with wider audiences, learn, keep in touch with friends and relatives – used well, it adds real value to their lives. The wonder of the internet is its free and open nature which empowers and preserves freedom of speech and freedom of access, giving women and children a voice they would not otherwise have. But technology is moving fast and the recommendations on how to stay safe online just aren’t keeping up. Rather than lament the pace of change, we need to start finding better solutions to help teens make good choices, stay safe and protect their reputations.
Social media apps now let teens and not-quite-teens text, chat, blog, meet people, share photos and videos. Some data can even self-destruct – at least to the extent that a digital footprint can ever really be erased. There’s Kik Messenger, ooVoo, WhatsApp, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, MeetMe, Omegle, Skout, Burn Note, Snapchat, Whisper, Yik Yak….the list goes on. With so many options and many more in the making, it’s understandable how kids’ interaction with them can fly under parents’ radars. If you’re monitoring your child’s Facebook account chances are you’re not seeing even half of the content they are exposed to or sharing with others. And if like me, your children are teaching you about apps, you are in the majority. Discourse with children about new apps and how they engage with the online world is a great opportunity to gain insight into their skills and exposure to risk.