SOCIAL MEDIA + OUR KIDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE VERY VERY SINISTER
Photo c/o Tim Gouw via Unsplash
I held two #ChachiCollective meetups in Edinburgh and Glasgow recently. In attendance we had a Head Teacher of a progressive school, writers, teachers, representatives from charities, self-esteem coaches, yogi’s, grandparents, aunts and uncles, occupational therapists, child care recruitment providers, artists, tech professionals and parents. I'm pleased to say it was a wonderful cross section of Scottish society.
Our goal was to discuss what we might need to be aware of as the young people we know and love become more plugged in to connected devices.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about what was discussed because the problem solver in me wants to go straight to the solution rather than dwell in the scary bits but just to give you a taste of the things which came up during the sessions...
We talked about: Facebook Pixels, Cookies, Artificial intelligence, Online Grooming, Consent, Data stripped out of images we upload to Facebook, Websites which Catalogue Social Media Feeds, Accessibility of Pornography, Revenge Porn, Location finding features, Child Technology Legislation, External Validation, Pressures to do with body image, connectedness vs. ‘always on’, fomo (fear of missing out), cyberbullying, data security, consent, constant comparing/ jealousy… If I explained each of those to you in details we'd be here till Christmas and you'd probably lock your kids away and never let their fingers near an iPad till they were 45. (Maybe a good idea!)
Here’s the important stuff:
Firstly, do you really know what the term ‘social media’ can cover?
Wikipedia explains social media as: “computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks”
Yeah, we all think of Facebook and Instagram when we think of social media but the myriad of ways that we (and our kids) can talk to each other is much more varied than you would first think. And that makes it very important for us to be aware of what our children are experiencing on-line.
I asked Rob Gelb from Kindaba, a recently launched, completely secure, private social network for families, to be my guest speaker at both meetups. His team created Kindaba to counter the fears parents face about their children being online and they have done a lot of research into the subjects of privacy, cyberbullying and online security. He outlined what the 4 main ‘types’ of social media are: