Digital Media & Press Writer

#SID2016: Internet Safety: A Parent’s Guide with @Motherlandnet

Here’s the introduction to a blog post published earlier this morning:

safer-internet-day-motherlandTo mark Safer Internet Day, Dr Bex Lewis explains how to raise children to be happy, aware and responsible online.

For many parents, there is a certain amount of fear attached to the idea that children ‘know’ how to use the internet, that they ‘speak a different language’ which inhibits adult’s engagement with their kids. Terms which have been coined such as ‘digital natives’ or ‘net generation’, help to perpetuate this idea that every child knows what they are doing online by reason of their age.

A more useful idea has developed from a team at Oxford University: that of the ‘digital resident’ and the ‘digital visitor’ defined more by attitude than by age. ‘Visitors’ use the internet as a tool: go in to complete a task, and leave. ‘Residents’ regard themselves as members of communities that exist online, rather than having access to an online toolbox. I’m most definitely a digital resident, though I’m officially far too old to be a ‘digital native’. But the digital, as Martha Lane Fox quoted in the Dimbleby Lecture in 2015, is no longer optional: “It’s not OK not to understand the internet anymore”.

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