Guest Blog – Toby and Roo :: Internet safety for children.

I think by now it’s pretty clear what my thoughts are on kids and technology. I can’t fathom why anyone would have an issue with children using technology when we live in a world that is largely dominated by tech. Seriously people, when it comes to kids and technology its time to hang up the spandex judgey-pants and get free with it.

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I think by now it’s pretty clear what my thoughts are on kids and technology. I can’t fathom why anyone would have an issue with children using technology when we live in a world that is largely dominated by tech. Seriously people, when it comes to kids and technology its time to hang up the spandex judgey-pants and get free with it.

We don’t limit our children’s tech time in the house unless we have a reason to – we treat technology very much the same as reading a book or drawing – there is no reason to limit it, but if we are doing something as a family, it’s meal time, friends are over, it goes away. I don’t judge people who do things differently, I have a friend who is very anti-tech and doesn’t allow her children to watch TV for more than 15 minutes a day and they certainly don’t have an iPad, whereas my kids are pretty much at a level where they can apply for a job at apple tech. It’s each to their own right?

Reuben has his own iPad at school, as do all the students, however it is highly monitored and internet access is restricted to the max. Even nurseries and early years teachers are now using clever digital learning journals to not only keep up with what the kids are up to, but monitor their educational development too. An example of technology which provides parents with better access to their children’s development and for all the adults involved with their care to help keep children safe online.

The only area that I DO find concerns me with tech is the safety element, and it goes back to what I said last week about keeping my kids safe and my parental worries. Now that Reuben is taking a real interest in learning about my work and what I do for a living, I have been giving some real thought to setting up a blog for him, perhaps a youtube channel too, but fear of the unknown – of what is out there – is stopping me.

Roo will often sit with me and do some typing for me (totally the reason you find the odd typo, it’s not me, it’s the 5 year old… honest), it doesn’t last but it is fun for him and we incorporate basic reading and phonic skills while we do it, however his interest in this hasn’t quite been enough to allay fears that if I did give him his own little corner of the internet it could open him up to so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m free range when it comes to tech but I’m not a moron, I have no intention of sitting my 5 year old down in front of a laptop and video cam and telling him to have at it without supervision or care, this would be a structured thing, something I could possibly use in the extra curricular children’s university thing that he is doing for school that I can’t *quite* work out. A video or post once a month reviewing a toy he loves or making a story for the camera for thousands of children around the world to drool over in the away that mine do those bizarre youtube channels.

It would help him learn basic skills like the ones I mentioned above, but would also give him coding skills (something that we’re doing basic work on already as it is actually a part of your child’s national curriculum in secondary school), editing video content and basic editing/writing skills, not to mention give him an idea of how to contact professional people in the industry if I sat and did it with him. You want to review something like the latest toy? You need to know who to ask and how. I’m not expecting the world, but with the right contacts (which I already have through this blog) we could help him set something up that could be the next hobbykidstv IF he wanted. On top of all that, I feel like as time progressed and he grew into a teen, it could give him an understand of the internet, how important it is to be careful and what dangers are out there. I suppose it is a bit like my thoughts on alcohol and drinking around children, which I discussed last week – early introduction to the concept of “staying safe” is paramount to keeping safe.

Yet.

The internet is a big BIG place, and having been trolled myself, I can’t imagine the pressures that that would create on a young adolescent (I’m talking 13-14, NOT Reuben’s tender age). As a mother our instinct is to protect our children, what happens if setting up something like this leaves him open to ridicule as he grows, or perhaps allows a predator to try and contact him?

I guess there are pros and cons with everything, however when it comes to our children’s safety, we can’t really afford to cock it up.

What are your thoughts on children having youtube channels or blogs?

H x

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