Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Parents and Social Media

This post comes out of a conversation I had on Twitter. I made the comment that parents need to have Social media accounts so that they can have a meaningful dialogue with their children. The quote I stole from the presenter I was listening to was “You wouldn’t take your kid swimming if you couldn’t swim.”
I thought it would be just one more tweet in the Twittersphere – ignored and moving on. But it gained a bit of attention, and started a lively discussion.
I’m going to paste the conversation here, because Twitter is a hard place to have a good conversation. Feel free to weigh in. I’m also going to post it, and then edit it when I get to a proper computer, so that I can add in some pictures and links to yesterday’s presentation from the AP at Kilbreda.

Here goes, in some vague order but with no guarantees:
Dan: what! Thats not true surely…I cant swim but take my kids to swimming lessons …
Fiona: But are you the one teaching them to swim? 🙂
Dan: no of course not …. but will get in the water with them… I am an esafety advisor btw for ceop and afp

Emma: No you dont. Dont need to be a swimmer to teach swimming. Dont need a SN account to understand SN
Emma: dont agree you need SN account to protect kids. You need to supervise your kids’ account #havetheirpassword
Fiona: Spying on them? No thanks.
Emma: it’s called parenting.
Emma: How else would you recommend parents see what their kids are doing online?
Dan: hiya, not sure what you mean do they see?
Emma: suggested having passwords was “spying” on kids. Wondered how she suggests knowing what kids are doing
Fiona: just developing an open, honest relationship with them
Emma: That is definitely important, but also not enough. Abuse is not always because they did something wrong. More often because someone else did. Keeping tabs on their account aids watching other people. dealt with so many abused kids whose parents thought they had good open honest relationship

Dan: not all teachets on twitter or social net… thats also an issue
Emma: Why do they need to be on twitter. What if their kids are on Whatsapp or Snapchat? Do they have to create?
Dan: I agree.

Dan: I put a free site together and its got a parenting section
Dan: Why do they need to be on twitter. What if their kids are on Whatsapp or Snapchat? Do they have to create?
Dan: having done loads of presos to parents in uk and aus ..same issues everywhere for them.
Emma: Yep. Usually the knowledge gap between the two and a fear or lack of motivation by parents to close it

Dan: I agree but parenting is complex… lots of analogies. . Analogies are mostly stupid. Need to focus on the issues.
Dan: fr example do you need to be a football player to coach football
Damian: you need to have played football to coach it ^properly^… Surely
Emma: No, you need to understand the sport I have seen coaches who have clearly never kicked a ball in their life

Emma: I have never used snapchat or Instagram, but am well versed in problems therein and what parents can do.
Dan: absolutely I use most but but not all of them

Ok, that’s the conversation so far. Excuse spelling and grammar errors. I’ve just copied and pasted directly from the Twitter feed.

There is a lot more in this, but not during keynotes. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

Two final tweets from me:
I can’t talk to my students about Scrillex. I haven’t listened to it. Likewise I need some experience with SM to have a dialogue.

Parents who make decisions about their child’s SM use w/out experience can make judgements based in fear rather than knowledge. #DLTV2014


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One thought on “Parents and Social Media

  1. I’ll join (back) in.

    I worked at CEOP for 2 and a half years where, amongst other tasks, I offered advice, support and protection to children and parents experiencing abuse and exploitation online. I think that while I was there, I was one of the most knowledgeable people in the UK on the topic of online protection, partly as a result of my geekiness and the partly because of the unique position I found myself in which afforded me the ears and the mouths of those at the sharp end.

    I had many conversations with parents who had developed open and honest relationships with their children who were struggling to come to terms with the fact that their children had been abused online, because abuse simply does not work to rule. Children are usually tricked, coerced or otherwise manipulated into activities that trap them in a spiral of ever increasing abuse. Regardless of the relationship they had with their parent, they were stucking engaging in activity they (a) knew was something they shouldnt be doing, (b) didn’t want to be doing, any longer if at all and (c) were petrified of being publicised.

    They set out feeling in control, they soon found out they weren’t and soon found that out and were then frantically trying to keep a lid on things so that the people around then and ESPECIALLY their parents, did not find out what had happened. Obviously they couldnt manage that, as it would be an insurmountable task, even for the most balanced and articulate adult, so your average teen is on a hiding to nothing. Most were petrified of the consequences of their parents finding out that they had been abused…so open and honest relationships is, for many children, simply inadequate.

    So all this means that parents have to do a little more than rely on their great relationship with their child to keep them safe (that was never a great tactic to prevent contact abuse so I struggle to see why online abuse would be any different).

    There are many things that parents can do but one of the main things they HAVE to do is to supervise their children online and lay down boundaries. There have been many poor analogies used during this debate, but one I think is appropriate is that you wouldn’t let your child out at night, without any knowledge of where they were going, what they were doing and with whom they were associating. It just isnt done. So why do that online?

    Parents HAVE to take an interest in what their children are doing online. I dont agree that this means emulating their activity online as this simply is not possible. Parents do NOT need to have a social networking account on each and every site/app their child does in order to protect them, but they DO need to understand what opportunities the app/site affords (a) their child and (b) offenders seeking to contact their child. For example, are there private messaging facilities? Is the website moderated? Can photos and videos be shared? Is there the facility for live streaming webcam?

    That’s what matters…not the frippery of the specific website. How can my child come to harm on this website?

    In terms of how to oversee this, many people suggest having a SN account with which you can befriend your child. Redundant.

    Take facebook for example. Befriend someone on FB and you get to see the things they post on their status. You also get to see posts other people make which tag them in or which are specifically posted to their timeline. Great, but this isnt where the risky stuff happens. That happens in private messages. The only way you can see what goes on in PMs, is by having access to your child’s account. That is pretty much standard across social networking sites. The P in PM is the clue there.

    There are many other things that parents can and need to do to keep children safe online, but if you do not have oversight on what is going on, you have absolutely zero chance of being in control if someone with ulterior motives contacts your child online. You are then putting all that pressure on them and them alone.

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