Children Outsmart Their Parents Online

They keep on telling us that this is the age of computer technology and that online skills are vital to success. Why then does our standardised tests not recognise this very theory. Standardised testing worldwide ignores the very skills our students are told they need to obtain.

Perhaps it is because our kids are fast outsmarting us when it comes to online activity:

MORE than half of Australian children are smarter than their parents when it comes to going online, enabling them to outwit adult restrictions.

Fifty nine per cent of children have ways of hiding what they’re doing online – and their parents know it, a survey by internet security specialist McAfee has found.

Of all age groups, children are the most adept at managing their “digital footprint”, or how they appear online.

“Children are far better at managing their profile controls and what their identity looks like to others,” Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre CEO Associate Professor Jane Burns said.

In a thetelegraph.com.au survey, one in four people said they had been left behind by their children’s online knowledge and one in three were worried they weren’t able to protect their children from web dangers.

Associate Professor Burns said that, rather than be embarrassed about asking for help, parents should embrace their children’s cyber smarts.

“There is a great capacity for them to be a teacher for you,” she said.

Building trust and rapport early was the key to being a parent in the online age: “Young people are far more technically savvy than their parents.

The reality is, even if parents think that they have control of what their children are doing online, they are pretty savvy and eventually the shift will occur. Children will tell them to back off.”

She said parents should treat internet conversations the same way they first taught their children to cross the road or play in the park.

“The first time you do this you make sure they’re with you and they’re holding your hand and you explain to them why it is important,” she said.

“If you’ve got the rapport it becomes a lot easier to ask your children to show you how they keep themselves safe – and they can teach you things as they get older.”

She said parents trying to start a conversation with their children should understand that they saw the web in completely different ways.

“Technology is now so embedded in children’s lives that they don’t differentiate between online and offline worlds,” she said.

“There is no distinction – you are creating relationships, full stop – and they can teach you things.”

“If you’ve got the rapport it becomes a lot easier to ask your children to show you how they keep themselves safe – and they can teach you things as they get older.”

“If you’ve got the rapport it becomes a lot easier to ask your children to show you how they keep themselves safe – and they can teach you things as they get older.”

Whilst this survey clearly presents a worrying case when it comes to cybersafety issues, it also goes to show that our young are very confident online. Why shouldn’t their skills be taken into account like all other skills currently contained in National standardised tests?

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One Response to “Children Outsmart Their Parents Online”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    National standardised tests are irrelevant. The superiority of children’s computer awareness is just one facet of a very scary phenomenon; children are increasingly going beyond anywhere that their parents were either able or dared to go. Instead of parents (and teachers) leading children in the paths they should go, it becomes progressively a case of reining them in. Where in the past the home, the school and the church laid down the tracks for children to follow, it seems to me that our children are jumping the tracks in greater numbers, getting into drug and alcohol abuse, unfortunate sexual experiences, premature parenthood, and circumventing guidelines in greater numbers than ever. While computers are not the cause of this they are certainly an accelerant.

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