The more things change, the more they remain the same – or so we’ve been told. When I was a teenager, I was pretty typical for the times – I knew everything! On top of that – I was convinced that I was invincible! Pretty standard fare when one is a teenager, I think.
Since those days, back in the “dark ages”, the World has changed dramatically – except perhaps, for teenagers’ views of the World. They still know everything; they’re still invincible.
In my day, this overwhelming self confidence in what I knew, and the faith I had in my invincibility, was essentially harmless – other than the inevitable parental conflict it caused, of course.
But today’s young people face a tougher, harsher “World”, the World of the Internet, in which the “I know everything” frame of mind, can lead to consequence which were unknown to those of my generation.
This “I know everything” perspective, is a major stumbling block which impacts a teenager’s ability to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy, and safety. Particularly the Internet phenomenon – Facebook.
The reality is – staying safe in today’s techno centric world demands knowledge, and acquiring that knowledge requires that a major effort be made to obtain it. Little, if any, of this knowledge, is acquired through osmosis.
If you’re a parent, you should know that because your teenager may be more comfortable with technology than you, does not makes your teenager tech savvy. Knowing how to text message, or load a game onto an Xbox, does not make anyone “tech savvy”. It really is a situation where the “I know everything” mindset, can lead to negative consequences.
We know from survey after survey, that teenagers have misplaced confidence in their ability to stay safe online. While the majority of teenagers say they are confident they can remain safe online, survey results continue to show a wide chasm exists between the perception, and the reality.
So, how can you, as a parent, help your teenager acquire the knowledge needed to enhance overall personal security in todays “wild west” Internet environment?
A great place to start is – not only read, but share with your teenager, a 32 page PDF guidebook for parents’ – A Parents’ Guide to Facebook, released today by Connect Safely, an Internet resource “for parents, teens, educators, advocates – everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web.”
As well, Connect Safely has a ton of social-media safety tips for teens and parents, the latest youth-tech news, and many other resources.
Visit Connect Safely.org, where you can read this handbook online, or better yet, print out the guide for continued reference.
From the site:
Welcome to our guidebook for parents! It’s designed to help you understand what Facebook is and how to use it safely. With it, you will be better informed and able to communicate with young Facebook users in your life more effectively.
That’s important because 1) if something goes wrong, we want our children to come to us and 2) as the Internet becomes increasingly social and mobile, a parent’s guidance and support are ever more key to young people’s well-being in social media and technology. The guidebook is published in partnership with the iKeepSafe Coalition.
About the Internet Keep Safe Coalition:
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe.org) is an international coalition of more than 100 leaders worldwide with a shared vision of seeing generations of the world’s children grow up safely using technology and the Internet.
Coalition members include policy leaders, industry, public health, child advocacy, law enforcement, and education experts, working together to bring all communities into full digital citizenship.
Internationally, iKeepSafe has outreach programs in Australia, China, Dubai, Nigeria, the UK and US. IKeepSafe is a member of Egypt’s Cyberpeace Initiative with First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, the EastWest Institute’s Cybersecurity initiatives, and the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection Initiative.
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