Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants
Today’s children represent the first generation to grow up entirely in a digital world. They have spent their entire lives using computers, video games, webcams, digital music players, mobile phones, instant messaging services and everything else the digital world has to offer.
Our kids are all “native speakers” of a digital language. They are Digital Natives.
So what does that make this generation of parents? Those of us who were not born into a digital world are, and always will be, Digital Immigrants. As immigrants, we are now in the process of learning a new language. This makes parenting today more challenging than ever before. After all, how often does the immigrant have the responsibility to teach the native how to stay safe and responsible in the native’s own land?
One thing that never changes is that kids are just as naive and reckless about risks as they have always been and they need parents to provide guidance and oversight. Did you know:
- More than 70% of teens talk to strangers online
- More than 60% of teens have been asked to meet face-to-face by a stranger they met online
- 1 in 7 kids are sexually solicited online every year
- 1 in 3 kids are bullied online or with a mobile phone
- 20% of teens admit to electronically sharing a nude photo of themselves with a friend or stranger
- 40% of teens say they have had an uncomfortable situation online but never told an adult
- And almost 50% of teens say their parents would not approve if their parents knew what they were really doing online and with their mobile phone.
Today’s parent is facing a unique set of parenting challenges. A complete lack of transparency into what is going on in the Digital Natives’ land makes it near impossible to set and manage limits, instill self-discipline and personal responsibility and to help our children maintain balance. That’s why I’m so excited about what we are doing at KidSafe.
KidSafe Makes Parenting A Little Easier
KidSafe is like a translator of the Digital Natives’ language, a GPS unit of their land and the phone bill that parents wish they had. Like the technology that our kids are using to gain instant access to everything, KidSafe provides real-time visibility into your kid’s digital world. Our goal has been to develop a simple to use technology that makes parenting in a digital world easier for a change. We want and need your feedback however. Please visit www.kidsafe.me and request an invitation to participate in our private beta.
Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – cyberbullying, sexting and predators. He co-founded KidSafe, is the author of Keeping Kids Safe: A Guide for Parents of Social and Mobile Children and is a frequent public speaker on the topic.
Copyright © 2009 Tim Woda