The internet, smartphones and other gadgets are more and more frequently a part of daily life. In particular the lives of children and teenagers.
It can be tricky to navigate the latest digital obstacles, whereas most young people seem to adopt the latest technologies easily.
This can be alarming for parents. It can seem as if there is a whole other world with its own set of rules (or lawlessness, depending on your take) for young people, even if you are tech-savy yourself.
In addition, certain media outlets do their best to create widespread public anxiety about internet ethics, online behaviour and cybersafety.
Here, we aim to demystify as much as we can about the latest social media networks and apps used by young people, by asking them.
Wanting to protect young people and help them manage their online existence is only natural. But, the best way to tackle this is less to do with authoritarianism and more about education and communication.
Education is important on a number of fronts. For parents, or guardians, this involves keeping up-to-date with what’s being used by young people. This will give you the confidence to talk to them about their use.
For young people themselves it could be more to do with building awareness of what they’re doing online, who they’re interacting with and the implications this might carry.
Communication is a job for everyone, but it’s up to you, as a parent or guardian, to take the lead and preferably by example. It’s no good just talking about good communication and being open to listening, to build trust you actually have to do it.
Healthy communication is ongoing and can be challenging at the best of times. But, the more frequently we make the effort to engage, the more manageable and natural it becomes.
Genuinely open-ended questions can be really helpful, as they can help to avoid sounding as if accusations are being made.
You could be surprised to learn all the educational and enlightening apps and tools young people are downloading or browsing.