Being Mindful about Young People and Technology

I highly recommend the training on  YOUNG PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY I attended today, facilitated by Juliet Summers and Mary Lancaster.  The training and resources given to us today were invaluable, and I strongly believe all schools need to do this course with people as experienced and knowledgeable as Juliet and Mary.  It definitely highlighted how much support our children need from all of us to grow up safe, healthy and happy in the age of technology and social media. 
There are real risks to our children’s wellbeing, if we as their carers are not educated and informed on ways to support them, set boundaries and to truly understand the challenges they face trying to form their own identity, fit in with peers and navigate their way through the big wide world of the internet from such a young age.
As Juliet said today, you wouldn’t hand someone a car without expecting them to know all of the road rules, have a license and experience driving, but we hand over a potentially harmful device like a phone, tablet, or any device with access to the internet with such little guidelines, information, training, restrictions, rules or support to such young kids and hope for the best. 
If your child can download and upload information from the device they use, it is considered ‘high risk’, and for very good reason.  Society need to wake up quickly to what is happening right under their nose and do more to protect our children.
We did an exercise today after lunch where a few groups were given a handful of pages from a mock Facebook account to play detectives and come up with as much information as you could simply by looking at the samples given.  Fair to say we were all mind blown by the amount of information we could gather on someone in just a few short minutes.  This information would be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
I strongly believe all parents, carers and teachers should make the effort to attend this workshop, start conversations, and do all they can to be proactive in keeping children safe from the many issues that our children are currently faced with whilst growing up in the age of social media.  Our kids are leaving their digital footprints, some very big, messy footprints without really understanding what that means, or how to travel lightly.
We have much more than cyber bullying, sexting, pornography, and online predators to be mindful of, there is also the effects of how our children’s developing brains are being constantly fed and influenced by what other people like, hate, share, advertise and sell to them as being good, bad or otherwise. 
Our children are very rarely left alone long enough without a beep, notification or text to think through their own thoughts, use their imagination or simply ‘be’.  And if they do share their thoughts, they watch to see how many likes, or comments it gets.  What does this teach children about their own self-worth? 
With respect to all the great things that have and will continue to come from the advancements in technology, our convenient devices and the internet, we still need to be very aware of the price we could end up ‘unwillingly’ paying for this progress and all of our modern conveniences.   It really is food for thought.
I taught my kids not to turn their back on the ocean, to try and keep them safe. Today brought home for me, just how important it is not to turn my back on my kids finding their way, growing up in the world of technology as it is today.
#BeingMindfulMatters  #Awareness  #Education  #ComingTogether  #Communication  #LetKidsBeKids  #OnlyLittleOnce  #BeTheExample

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