Become part of the parent cyberlution
The digital evolution has rushed in and quickly changed the lives of our kids, in turn changing ours as parents. Over the past few years parents have been thrown into this new space, where sharing pictures or thoughts can happen in a fraction of a second, and can be shared with millions the second after that.
Parents were overwhelmed with the newness, changes, possible dangers and would bury their heads in the proverbial sand, just hoping their kids didn’t do something wrong. However, parents are digging their way out (do we really have a choice?) and grabbing technology by its horns.
Just a couple of years ago, I stood in front of a large audience in Texas, parents feverishly scribbling down every word I said about “this Facebook thing,” tagging, and this foreign concept of friending. “Who would post that?” one parent quipped. “Why would you write to your friend on Facebook when you can just call them and tell them?” another asked. Oh boy.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and parents not only understand these new technologies and ways to connect, but they’re also…wait for it…enjoying them! YES! It’s come. The parent cyberlution. Kids are appropriately rolling their eyes knowing their parents now have not one – but many – social networking accounts, and parents are laughing all the way to Instagram. Or is it Twitter? Maybe Facebook. No, send me a Snap.
For those with children too young for social networking, they too are embracing all things technology. A few years ago, parents would ask me what age I thought was appropriate for kids to have access to the Internet. Today, my young children can effortlessly navigate the iPad, know their ABC’s, 123’s (in English and Spanish), and can write letters A-D – all because of the educational apps they’re absolutely fascinated with (which, in my opinion, are revolutionizing education in the classroom as we speak).
As an educator on this topic of digital safety and responsibility, I’m encouraged that the mood is shifting from petrified to pumped-up when it comes to social networking and technology. While there are certainly some reasons for concern and caution, parents can’t do anything for their kids’ digital safety by sitting on the sidelines, covering their eyes. By being in this space with them and understating first-hand the intrigue and amazingness of it all, parents are being active participants in keeping their kids safe.
Former Director of Internet Safety for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Intelligence Analyst for the Massachusetts State Police, Katie LeClerc Greer travels the country educating students, parents, administrators and law enforcement officers about technology and digital responsibility/safety. Katie was recently named as an advisory board member for iKeepSafe, and serves as an industry expert and advisor for various government agencies and Fortune 500 companies around the country. You can learn more about Katie at: www.klgreer.com