Did you know…
Social networking is over-taking email and instant messaging in popularity with our students?
In a recent survey I did of the student population at my local primary school, 60% of students from Prep – Year 6 are members of at least one social network – and a large number of the remaining 40% had seen a social network and interacted with others online in some other way. And that’s when you ask the kids to identify what is (and what isn’t) a social network – some things they don’t count. Like Club Penguin, which is definitely a social platform…
This info is good to know!
In Software/websites like Club Penguin and Moshi-Monsters, your child can become ‘friends’ with anyone and most children work around the ‘safe chat’ functions (even students as young as Prep have done so!). So they are chatting with anyone about anything. BUT – and this is important – it’s not all bad! They just need boundaries and to know what to do and how to behave online.
That’s because our kids often think and learn quite differently to us.
They can learn through social interaction, both online and off. And unfortunately, just unplugging the computer isn’t the solution! Unplugging your child just leaves them isolated and – as we all know – more likely to go behind our backs. The advice for the Australian Communications and Media Authority is to work with them and to supervise!! The ACMA is a great resource if you haven’t seen it. Try out the parent page.
So, what do we do? Well, here are my suggestions:
- Continue to talk about their online worlds with them
- Spend 20 minutes a month just watching what they do online
- Moderate what they are accessing using filters.
Online social networks offer a world of learning for your child, but we wouldn’t let them navigate a busy road by themselves without help and training, so we should also support them in navigating their busy cyber-worlds with the same help and training.
Have you had experience with social media and young kids? Let us know your tips and tricks…I’d love to hear from you!