Michael Carr-Gregg is an Australian Psychologist with much experience of working with children. This book was written (in 2007) with the support of the Australian police – nice simple read with a lot of practical advice, but no screen-shots (as digital changes too fast).
The book is generally written from a positive perspective, assuming that the people reading this are parents unsure whether the online world is helping or hindering their children’s experiences…. Carr-Gregg definitely feels that it is of benefit, but that we need to understand the “issues” so that parents can deal with them appropriately .
There’s interesting information about how the teenage brain develops, and that we shouldn’t give too much responsibility to kids too early – we should trust them but understand that they still need support, encouragement and guidance. He identifies the internet as the biggest thing since the printing press, but that the adolescent brain is a work in progress. “They are generally not good at impulse control, prioritising or assessing risk.” Particular problems are that:
- Parents seem to know less than their children, especially lingo/ workarounds – but need to fear less & know/instruct more
- Increasing portability – can’t be always under parental supervision
- Sites change fast – can’t learn specifics of a site – need to learn safe/appropriate behaviours on all sites.
- Lack of rules – parents haven’t given rules… need stronger boundaries
The following basic principles are given:
- From early age – make internet part of something family does together – role model of good practice online
- Internet computer in family room. Wifi can be limited
- Learn about the internet. Review sites kids are using – get them to show you around.
- Discuss & make clear rules for internet use – may want to write a family internet contract.
- Investigate parental control tools/blocks/filters – remember they are not a substitute for parental guidance.
He’s very keen on the idea of a family internet contract, and that schools also need to work on defining appropriate policies in conjunction with parents. Lots about online gaming & dealing with issues of (cyber) bullying – either child as a victim, or child engaging in it.
Some further interesting links:
- http://mediasmarts.ca Canada’s Centre for Media and Digital Literacy
- http://www.crispthinking.com/kids-teens/ Sales company designed to protect kids from ‘predators’
- http://www.pegi.info/en/index/ (*he gave Aus equivalent) Defines age appropriate gaming.
- When he wrote he thought that internet addiction disorder existed, but wasn’t defined – it has now been defined as this story from Forbes indicates.
- The importance of getting sleep & how your device(s) may be impacting on that.