How are we today? I’m on ‘school holidays’ – which for me just means that one of my four responsibilities is quiet for two weeks. Just means more time for other things really! Does anyone else feel that free time just disappears during school holidays? Anyway, enough procrastinating…
Today we are chatting about Web 2.0. It’s a term that’s thrown around a bit and can mean a few things.
It’s important for us parents to know about Web 2.0 because of what it lets us and our kids do. Understanding what the Internet lets kids do today means we can prepare them and support them online. It’s about cyber-safety really.
But first a quick history. The term Web 2.0 first appeared in 2004. It began with a techy/nerdy conference in the USA that brought people together to talk about all the cool stuff that the Internet was beginning to offer, like blogs, and Facebook and wikis. So it’s a relatively new concept.
While some people argue it’s not any different to what came before, the idea is that pre-2004, the Internet and technology was a one way conversation. Someone posted something or uploaded a web page and we read it. It took some serious tech skills to get a website going and that meant only those with the cash to pay or with the skills to do it themselves were posting online. Big corporations had websites for marketing and companies with big investors could launch social networking sites. Until that is, Web 2.0 developers started to create programming languages and software that let people like us in on the game. As the Internet became 2-way the new term was born: Web 2.0
Web 2.0, to me, is anything online that lets us Communicate, Collaborate and Create. If it doesn’t have those three things, it’s not really Web 2.0.
It’s the communicate and collaborate that we need to think most about, asking, what are our kids doing online and with whom?
So think about the websites they are playing on and ask yourself these questions:
Are they simply creating?
If so, who are they publishing to and why? Find our who they are thinking about as they create or build online. Check if there’s other elements going on. Like chatting with their friends as they create in Minecraft (not recommended by the way – read more here)
Are they also communicating?
Is it an online community? Who is part of it? Ask about who they are talking with – and what about? Make sure you understand if it’s an open forum or behind an account. If they are logged into Club Penguin for example they might be chatting with others. It’s DEFINITELY not 100% safer than chatting on an open forum but these sites do have better ways to report problems and some do monitor the language and content. When our kids get to about age 12, they want in on these conversations and you need to know what they are doing. You might decide to block them from chat rooms. But you’ll only know what they are doing if you are online with them. At the very least, they should only be online in a ‘family space’ like the kitchen or family room. The ACMA suggest this makes it less likely they’ll do something dodgy and a bit more likely they’ll ask for help if you are right there.
Finally, are they collaborating?
This is the educational bit. Teachers love the collaboration that Web 2.0 can offer and we are still working out how to find the best way to do this in a safe way. Websites like Edmodo offer private, virtual classrooms for teachers. Read more about Edmodo here. It’s key to preparing our kids to be successful in the 21t Century – they need skills like negotiating and working with others online and face to face.
Web 2.0 is basically all the exciting stuff. It’s Facebook and Twitter and blogging and wikis. It lets you and me contribute to the web and to interact with other people interested in similar things to us.
Web 2.0 is important to our kids’ futures too. They need to take advantage of all the online tools that can help them learn while learning about being safe and understanding who owns what online…
Do you use social media or blogs? Share what you think about Web 2.0 and your kids :0)