(Sweet As Social Media Community course for Parents & Caregivers from AssistNZ Ltd)
In a two hour seminar, we explore the world of social media from a kids point of view for the benefit of Parents & Caregivers. Providing an overview and introduction to the exsisiting resources, services and support avaliable in the community, we will cover some tips & tricks for keeping up with your kids online and explore the biggest risks & issues being discussed, we hope to help provide parents some insight into this context of youth today.
EXTENDED COURSE OUTLINE
With 98% of Kiwi Schools having internet access and iGovt launched last year, the digital world is now so integrated & embedded in our societies that it is being becoming more difficult to imagine our lives without technology. For those of us who can remember the fear and threat of the "Y2K Bug", the last decade has shown us rapid and exponential growth in online technologies. Not only are our virtual realities now a part of our daily lives, but they have fundamentally and radically changed them. Today, we have got the point where reports state that one in four kids have an "online presence" before they are born.
Social Media has changed parenting as much as it has other aspects of our work & lives. Teenagers are the most at risk of adverse implications from online activities at the moment. They are not only the biggest users of many of these technologies but they also appear to have little ability to comprehend the risks associated to the permanency and public nature of social media or the relevance of having a "digital footprint" which will follow them throughout their lives. In our experience, they are acutely aware that they know much more about these technologies than any kind of authority figure they can identify with. In fact we agree with them, and even go so far as to seek out the assistance and support of local youth where we can to help us to solve some of the hardest issues brought to us at AssistNZ.
Younger children will not know a world without the internet, MP3s and real time, global communication platforms, they are "digital natives". The ease and ability of the youngest of children we interact with to pick up these technologies and have an instinctive ability to use them, without any idea of what they are doing- continues to both shock and frighten us. The internet is still a "wild west" and to many degrees, the environment & culture fostered online has combined to create a playground which is far from a safe and certainly not always a pleasant place to explore...
Parents need to be aware that they can be held legally accountable for the actions of their children online. That these minors, who unwittingly step into a contractual agreements with the site, such as Facebook as part of the registration process, regardless of weather or not you have given them consent. The debate over the responsibility to protect these kids being the place of schools, parents, governments, service providers or the community more broadly is redundant. We all need to work together to make sure better answers and solutions are available for Kiwi kids & families when things go wrong and it is the responsibility of each and every caregiver of children to educate & inform themselves as to protect kids online while still enabling& preparing them to make use of the opportunities such technologies can bring.
We will cover a brief overview of the biggest concerns and issues for parents relating to their children & their activities and behavior online. We will then discuss and share some of the other relevant & related services and support available to parents to assist them dealing with these issues and outline the preventative measures families may chose to adopt. We briefly explore the kinds of risks and problems attendees may have already faced or experienced and will have some insight & advice from a legal perspective on some of these topics and will provide materials for parents to continue their own learning and progress with such processes at their own pace, assisted with ongoing support & guidance online after the workshop. Providing guides and advice to take away which outlines sets and processes to ensure digital security and safety, we focus our conversations on the discussion of "best approach" for families & kids online & will work in groups to outline guides or a set of house rules for behavior online to initiate conversations in your household.
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