There is a huge stigma attached to the online behaviours of teens and young adults, often induced by horror stories that appear online and in the news. Parents often tell us that they worry about what their children are using the Internet for and whom they may be speaking to online.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by @Shine_Online01 and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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Gone are the days where parents and caregivers can stick the family computer in a communal area, limit how much time their kids can spend online, or use parental controls to restrict potentially harmful content. Now, the average teenager will have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and games console, all of which give them open access to the web.
In our opinion this, along with continuous negative media content surrounding young people online, has created a fear among parents and caregivers. In many cases this fear is manifested through a lack of understanding. After all, we all tend to fear things that we don’t necessarily understand and often, the more we gain understanding and knowledge of that thing, the less fear we experience.
We want to apply this theory to parents who may be worried or apprehensive about the effects of the Internet on their children. Over the coming weeks at Shine Bright Online, we will be making short videos and resources that will explain the most popular social networking sites and apps that the kids of today are using. The hope is that if parents and caregivers can gain a greater understanding of these platforms, it will enable them to confidently spark conversations with their children about their online activity.
We all know that kids hate to talk about things with their parents if they believe that adults don’t understand or are too old or not cool enough. Therefore with the information that we will be providing over the next few weeks, we hope that it will give you the confidence to start up conversations with your kids. They will be a whole lot more open about what apps they use and how they use them if they believe that you know what they’re talking about.
This is not about giving you the tools and information so that you can go out and get yourselves on SnapChat, YikYak, Tumblr and everything else, it is about helping you understand that, for the majority, these sites and apps are used innocently and can be beneficial for your child if used appropriately.
We want you to actively talk about social media with your kids. Just their openness will most likely ease your worries. Its not about monitoring every little thing that your children are posting online, its about sparking conversations, building trust and passing on knowledge and advice to your children and young adults to enable them to be SMART, SAFE and SUCCESSFUL online.