We have a conflict: kids today don’t know what life was like without computers, cell phones, and gaming and parents today remember very dearly when an apple was only a piece of fruit. The fact remains that unless there is a world-wide power outage and we’re all forced to revert back to the pioneer days of living, churning our own butter and hand-washing our laundry down by the local creek, technology will only continue to make lighting-speed advancements. The tall tale truth: if you’re not on board the Technological Train, you will not have a say in shaping your child’s relationship with technology.
Technology is a hotly contested topic in millions of households because there is a real disconnect between the parent’s use for technology and the child’s use for technology. Let’s go back to this truism: kids today really don’t know what it was like to not have access to the world through the internet. I invite you to sit with that thought for a minute or two. Okay, got it? If we look at technology through the eyes of today’s child, we can understand a little more as to how cell phones, computers, gaming, and social networking are part of their daily existence. As Lori Getz of Cyber Education Consultants says, “They are ‘Living Out Loud'”. (See Lori talk about this here) This intangible world, that we call The Internet, is part of their tangible daily lives.
Now, because I do remember what life was like before the internet, I find myself constantly questioning whether its benefits outweigh the negatives, especially when it comes to education. For example, grammar-check (an awesome tool for learning the correct mechanical rules of writing) is a go-to source when proofreading a paper. A student will say, “Why should I learn these writing rules when the computer can do it for me? What’s the point?” Here’s a chance for you, as the parent, to share how technology can help your child learn the rules but that they ultimately must use their own intellect, skill, and discretion to follow the rules, a message that translates to problems even outside the use of technology.
Technology opens up a new world of exploration. It is amazing that a touch of a button brings with it access to billions of thoughts, viewpoints, and beliefs. When we use technology correctly, we are positively engaged. As the parent, you have the power and the duty to control your child’s ability to engage and connect with the world. So jump on that Technological Train and use your inherent parental right to equip your child with the intellect, skill, and discretion to make the best choices online.
Take a look at Lori Getz, of Cyber Education Consultants, as she discusses how kids today are “Living Out Loud” and how-to bridge the gap between The Tech Savvy Generation and their Tech-Challenged parents.
(see minute 4:00 for the “Living Out loud” discussion )
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