Social media has taken over our lives. Whether we are tweeting about something funny that happened, or we are posting a work-related video on YouTube, we are constantly leading digital lives. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn have begun to be a part of our work and social worlds. I believe it is with my generation that the birth of the social media world has taken off. My parents and grandparents did not grow up living in a digital world. They grew up in a world of snail mail and expensive long distance calls. I grew up in a world where today’s technology was finding its ground – bulky cell phones, flat screen TV’s and laptop computers.
It’s the generation after me that is now leading a digital life. Cell phones are part of a child’s world at a young age; toddlers know how to work a cable box better than I do. Video games, cell phone apps and iPads are a normal part of life for an elementary school child. Wow! It amazes me how far we’ve come over such a short period. I have to ask myself, “How does leading a digital life change the way generations learn, connect and interact?”
Students no longer turn to encyclopedias and books for their information – those are out of date by the time they are printed. Instead, they turn to Google and Yahoo, looking for the newest, most up-to-date answer with the stroke of a few keys. Communication between friends and family is no longer through snail mail and phone calls. Instead, text messages are sent quickly, and Twitter and Facebook are means of communication. Students learn and communicate much differently than I did, or my parents did. Because they are born into a digital world, they learn through the technology that surrounds them daily.
Did you know that:
“77% of 8- to 15-year-olds said they’d rather give up TV than give up the Internet?” (Pangea Media and YPulse, 2009)
“1 in 5 kids 8 to 17 say they do things online that their parents would not approve of.” (Norton Online Living Report, 2007)
“75% of 12 to 17 year olds own cell phones and 88% of them use text messaging.” (Pew, 2010)
“93% of teenagers surf the web.” (Common Sense Media)
Today’s technology offers so many opportunities for teens to learn, interact and connect. It is important to have a conversation with children about staying safe while learning and communicating. IT-oLogy has joined forces with Girl Scouts – Mountains to Midlands to provide a half-day, hands-on workshop for middle school girls and their parents on cyber safety and awareness.
Topics include social networking, cyber bullying, mobile devices and online dangers and how to report it. We will have experts from the cyber industry on hand with information, tips and how-to’s. Representative Laurie Funderburk will also be presenting the keynote.
cyberIQ is a grassroots campaign to encourage middle school girls to surf the cyber world safely, and to educate parents on the importance of cyber safety. The cyberIQ campaign is powered by the Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands and IT-oLogy.
A few good resources out there for you and your child to use to learn more about cyber safety:
- The Federal Trade Commission has great resources you can order for yourself and your teen, as well as community guides.
- Common Sense Media is a fantastic website filled with cyber safety, texting and other information for parents and educators.
- cyberIQ Facebook and Twitter pages will have more information coming over the next few weeks and months!
See you on September 10th!