With Convenience Comes Challenges
I love the convenience of technology. The fact that the picture above was delivered to my daughter's phone only 45 minutes after being taken has to make me appreciative of the time and money saved by the little device in our pockets.
No longer do we have to wait a week to get the photo. We know instantaneously if the photos are good. I remember taking some amazing photographs of my daughter as an infant. I couldn't wait to pick them up at the drug store to find out those precious moments were not captured. I could go on about the applications I love. I personally did not anticipate the challenges that would come from these conveniences.
Before we put a fifteen year old behind the wheel, we make sure they are aware of all the challenges of the road. They are required to spend at least six months behind a wheel with a licensed driver and pass a drivers test before they are allowed to drive without supervision. We need to do the same thing before we put a device in the hands of children.
When we hand over a device to our children, we are putting them in the palm of the hands of app creators and advertisers. As a result, we need to make sure we consider the child's readiness for managing the device.
The first consideration is if they are mature enough to handle what they will be experiencing? In 1997, most children in my school had access to personal computers in their homes. It was exciting for us, because we found yet another source of information students could use to research an animal for our endangered animal project. We quickly discovered the need to check for credibility of the sources they were using, since we discovered anyone at the time could publish to the internet. Nor were we ready for the inappropriate material our students would be exposed to at the time.
One student was not ready for what he saw when he did a simple search for information about the snow leopard. The first thing that he clicked on was a porn site. It became very obvious that no one was ready for this challenge. That was in 1997. Today, the children are a target for app creators, game makers, and advertisers. We need to be sure they are prepared to deal with the unexpected and shocking things they may see.
We may put filters on their devices, but that is not a guarantee they will never open an app and find something they may not have the maturity to deal with. The hackers know how to by pass filters and just yesterday, I learned that a sixth grader discovered how to by-pass the filters his parents put on his devices.
Parents need to navigate the internet with their children and point out what they need to be cautious of when doing searches.