The #1 Thing to Teach Your Kids About the Internet
At some point every parent will eventually realize that our kids are more technically savvy than we ever will be. What was innovation and magic for us is commonplace for them. They grew up with computers; cell phones; tablets; ipads, ipods, iphones; i-this and i-that devices are everywhere. They don’t have conversations…they text; tweet; post; blog; and Reddit / Pinterest their daily encounters. So here is the hardest thing you will ever teach your kids about the internet…
It’s not real. It’s not true. Well, not always. I cannot count the number of outrageous conversations with my kids where their debate logic boils down to “I saw it on the internet”. Forget about reading it online. With YouTube and other video feeds (Hulu; Netflix) you get to watch the world around you…maybe. With all the high-tech video editors openly available - anymore you cannot believe half of what you see either. This information age has spawned so much online content that just appearing online creates credibility. Journalistic integrity has disappeared when anybody becomes capable of plopping their own version of “the news” on a GoDaddy website for $9 a month.
There are spam filters; virus detection programs; firewalls; parental controls and a wealth of other means to protect your kids or your PC online. How can you protect them from believing everything that they see or read online? You can’t stop them from these obtuse experiences, so your best bet is to coach them to challenge what is read or viewed. Have them cross-check for other reliable resources and build trust websites. Help them to become self-sufficient web surfers and critical thinkers. Utilize your old school resources to teach them to critique and think for themselves.
Remember – the internet can be a tremendous asset or tool… or a weapon of mass destruction too.