How Tweet It Is

7 09 2010

I have been checking out ideas with two of the younger members in our family and am delighted with what I’m learning about their online savvy and their level of empowerment in using the web to their advantage (yes, they have had the requisite warnings about the dangers lurking in the world wide spider web). For these young people, prepping for the return to school has been as much about upgrading software and putting a new fashion “skin” on their cell phones as about reading lists and classroom schedules. Thankfully, their thumbs stayed nimble over the summer months – all those texts!

They are fast becoming adept online researchers and barely remember a time when you couldn’t “Google something”. Digital downloads are replacing the library stacks and emoticons ♥  have become the grafitti of choice. They are in touch, tuned-in, and capable of instant communication and connections. They are learning the language, honing their skills, and developing their navigational expertise while watching trends and gaining access to information in new and mind boggling ways. And they are almost completely unaware of how the world ever functioned without all of this – it’s their everyday, their “same old”.

How many hours, I wonder, will they spend online in the next ten years? How much time will they eventually devote to the learning curve required for keeping up, staying connected? Will they be smart about their online presence? Can they avoid the risks that are “out there”? If they let me, this  guide and advisor will be asking these and other questions along the way. I’ll share my concerns and delight in all the shared learning I hope we’ll do together. Like parents, caregivers, and concerned family members everywhere, I will hope to be helpful.

Their journey continues. I wouldn’t trade places with them (Me? Sweet 16? Again?) but how exciting it is to have a seat up front with a great view of all the action – seatbelt firmly fastened.

 “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” (Maya Angelou)

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2 responses

12 09 2010
Kelsey

I find it really inspiring how you think to help people using the internet and inform about the dangers involved. Although it may seem we’re knowledgable, I get about as frustrated using the internet as I do when one of my favorite books takes a turn for the worse – which is very often. There’s so much information out there to filter through, and to avoid when necessary (which seems to be becoming more often). It seems like it takes hours just to find appropriate sources for a paper! Internet safety is a big issue, for alot of kids, and needs to be talked about and explained by an adult they trust. For me that’s my parents or my Aunt’s, etc. But I have friends whose whole life has been destroyed by one wrong friend add on facebook or follow on twitter. It’s great there’s people like this who touch on these issues that many try to avoid, it’s what alot of kids and teens need.

12 09 2010
Karen Smith

Thanks for your comment Kelsey, and for being honest about your frustrations. I know that some young people would rather be “cool” and pretent to know all about new technologies, but it’s so much safer (and you’ll learn so much more) admitting what you don’t know. There’s an expression about “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask” and that certainly applies to Internet safety and your online privacy. So, always ask questions. Share your knowledge with your friends, encourage them to ask questions, and keep relying on the adults you trust to help you find answers. Remember, though, that many adults are just as confused about online safety as young people are, so their ability to give you good advice may be limited to what they actually know. There are good web sites out there with tips and suggestions for online privacy and protecting your personal information – stay informed. You might want to check http://www.canadianparents.com, http://www.wiredkids.org, or http://www.safekids.com, for starters. Happy surfing! Be safe.

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