Now, I am not a risk taker, but I would challenge anyone to find an Aussie teen who hasn’t embraced social media. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, the digital world is the teens’ playground.
Our teens are often described as digital natives – they’ve never known life without the online world. They seem to have technology running through their veins and are therefore often appointed as the ‘IT Directors’ of their households! And whilst I am in awe of their abilities, I do believe they would benefit from some formal (and supportive) instruction on how to use social media and most importantly, protect themselves online.
I was delighted to be part of McAfee and Life Education’s recent launch of bCyberwise, a cyber education program which will be offered to Aussie primary school students through Healthy Harold and the Life Education program from 2013. This innovative program will teach 8, 9 and 10 year olds how to stay safe online and help them develop positive online communication skills.
But when it comes to the ‘how to’ and our teens, I really believe our 13 -18 year olds could benefit from some ‘tips and tricks’ sessions on using social media. As parents, we know how much better it is to learn a new skill properly from the beginning. Imagine how much savvier our teens would be online if they were shown how to navigate Instagram, Twitter or Facebook by a trusted adult or teacher who has their best interests at heart!
Right from the start, they could learn how to set up their privacy settings, block or defriend friends and how to get help in case of an online issue. Definitely a much better option than learning the hard way!
What do you think? Should schools teach kids how to use social media the right way?