Consider This. . .

Are you a parent or a teacher of digitally connected children?  Chances are that if you’re a parent or a teacher at all, the answer to that question is yes!  Heck, I don’t know many kids today who aren’t digitally connected.  Between IMing, Texting, Emailing, Blogging and Surfing, it’s hard to believe that today’s child ever sees the great out-of-doors, isn’t it?

The power of the Web has truly captivated today’s generation….and that’s cool. 

Unfortunately, us "caring adults" haven’t really been paying attention to what our kids are doing online.  In fact, we really have no clue what goes on behind the keyboard most of the time, do we?

Consider these statistics, gleaned from Childnet International—-my new favorite resource for teaching parents and students how to stay safe in Cyberspace:

  • 7% of children describe themselves as beginners on the Internet.
  • 79% of young people use the Internet privately without their parent’s supervision.
  • 33% of young people who go online at least once a week report having received unwanted sexual or nasty comments via email, chat instant message or text message.
  • Only 7% of parents think their child has received such comments.
  • 57% of 9-19 year olds have come into contact with online pornography.
  • Only 16% of parents think that their child has seen pornography on the Internet.
  • 49% of kids say that they have given out personal information on the Internet.
  • 5% of parents think their child has given out such information.

And most importantly:

  • 30% of students report having received no lessons at all on using the Internet.

What do these statistics mean for us? 

That we’ve got to do a better job understanding what our children are doing on the Net—-and do a better job introducing our kids to the skills necessary for staying safe while they explore. 

4 comments

  1. Bob

    I’ll bite, Radical. 🙂 In the spirit of comity, What’s the problem with young people using the Internet? Why are some adults concerned about young people finding whatever comes on screen? Is it that adults don’t like or don’t understand some things there, so young people should not either? How do such sentiments fit a diverse world?

  2. Mike

    I’m continually amazed by teachers who tout the internet as a quantum leap in education and in human existance. Why, kids can do their own websites! They can creak My Space pages! They can publish online! They no longer need to write papers or do the kinds of boring, old school assignments that have been proven to work over centuries, no, they can sit in front of flickering screens until their eyeball fall out ad their hands degenerate into clasw from carpal tunnel syndrome! They can…bleargggh! The next wide eyed colleague who touts the internet as the second coming in front of me may find a mouse cord protruding from their nether regions.
    No, the net will not replace reading, book publication, and every other source of knowledge and writing and reading anytime soon. And while it can provide worthwhile information, it is, for most kids, mostly about entertainment. We should not let kids spend ten hours a day in front of the TV set, or on the cellphone, and in the same way, we have to be the adults in the room that teach the kids that the net is not the giver of life.
    Computers are tools, perhaps more efficient than some others, but tools and nothing more. Aren’t there any adults out there willing and able to explain reality to the kiddies?

  3. Renee Moore

    As a teacher, I am increasingly fascinated by the learning opportunities available to us and our students, especially via Web 2.0 tools. My two-year old grandson has taught himself how to navigate his favorite website (Starfall.com). He’s barely learned to talk! We sit with him while he is on the computer and it is a great teaching tool, but we would no more allow him to venture on it alone that we would let him run out in the street.

  4. ms_teacher

    my youngest has gotten quite annoyed with his dad and I over the fact that we monitor his online activities. Our family computer is downstairs. I routinely check the cache and the google searches to see what all three kids are up to. The older two sometimes get irritated that we only have one computer that is in clear view.