Friday, July 20, 2018

Teaching Your Kids How to Use Tech Wisely

Kids have been growing up with computers, mobile technology, and the Internet for many years now, and the use of these technologies is an integral part of modern life. There are few paths your child can take that won’t have at least a degree of technological interaction, and for the most part, this is a good thing. The information, experiences, and opportunities for communication can enrich lives and enable better standards of education, but with these benefits come risks. To keep your child safe, you need to make sure they understand how to look after themselves, why it’s important, and how to trust what they are reading.

Information literacy
This is the ability to not just read what you find online, but know how to check whether it’s truthful and accurate. Kids tend to believe everything they read on websites without stopping to consider that the facts could be incorrect or deliberately misleading. They are approaching their acquisition of knowledge with a naivety that comes from lack of experience.
Therefore, they need to be shown how to look behind the information on the screen and make sure it is from a reputable, authoritative source. Schools are making efforts in this direction, and if you’re fortunate, you may find your school librarian runs information literacy courses. It’s always worth spending time with your kids yourself though to make sure they have the ability to assess what they find online.

Another aspect of computer use that kids tend to be naïve about is the machine itself. They won’t think about saving their work, or backing up their files unless you show them how and explain what can happen if they don’t. Kids need to understand how computers get infected with viruses, what can happen when they do, and how to avoid this occurring. They often don’t treat electronics with the delicacy they should, and mobile devices and laptops can frequently get dropped and bashed about. Prevention is always better than cure, but if your child does drop their laptop or loses all their files, a company like Secure Data Recovery can help restore the information.

Personal safety
This is the topic most parents worry about above all others – making sure their kids aren’t viewing unsuitable materials or getting involved in talking to undesirable characters. Parental restrictions are a common feature on most devices now, and there are apps that will lock down the device even further, to your precise specifications if you wish. Kids are naturally curious and will explore the links that appear, or search for information on unsuitable topics for their age, so some form of limitation is advisable. Again, schools should cover the basics of keeping your identity safe online and avoiding talking to strangers who may be pretending to be something they’re not, but parental vigilance is important too.

The benefits of having access to the Internet are so important, and in fact essential to your child’s progress in a modern society. You just need to make sure they are shown how to respect the technology and use it effectively.