Currently attending a conference on Social Media in Schools; However, it should be called, Where there is a door and a window, kids will find another way out.
It is no debate that from generation to generation, kids are more tech savy than their parents. I, who first learned my love of tech from my IBMer father, now get tech help calls from him. Just the other day he called with a problem that I had not experienced before. What did I do? Google it of course and found the solution. I found the way.
Students do the same. In my current tech class with upper elementary aged kids we are working with a project-based Webquest based on the Three Little Pigs. Students have various higher and lower tech options to complete tasks. The majority chose the options that include Kerpoof or Glogster, as they offer them the creative tech option. Most students had no experience with these sites, but does that stop them from interacting with them? No, kids, when motivated and tech is motivating, will try and play, usually with success. Often discovering parts of these learning tools that I had yet to find.
With our recently started ability to BYOD (Bring your own device), although limited to tablet or laptop, I have been given a glance at novice kids with tech, more than I had before. Students will figure out how to make the devices and apps work for them. They don’t mind experimenting, which is one reason I love iPads for schools. There is less ways for kids to “mess” them up.
The problem is, kids will find a way. As one presenter noted, no child should have a better phone/device than their parents. If the child has a smartphone, while the parent has a flip phone, how is the parent to understand the power they have put in the child’s hand? If a parent doesn’t grasp the concept of all the device can do, then how can they parent the use of such a device with their child?
With a background in Child Development, this is the area I see and fear most. Kids do not have the cognitive ability to truly grasp the power and consequences today’s devices hold. Kids need to be taught, they need to be watched, they need to be held accountable. If parents cannot take these steps, they should not be putting the device in their child’s hand.
I have witnessed my students walking that fine line, and that is only what I see. With new and advanced apps and Social Media, it is getting easier and easier for “accidents” to happen that could have long term negative effects on kids. Kids will skip the door and the window, even if they are open, and find another way without forethought to what could be on the other side.
Education to these starts at home, before the device is put into the child’s hands. Just as kids are taught to look both ways before crossing the road before we let go of their hand, they need to be taught to use tech devices by looking all ways, before it goes into their hands.