I can’t decide. Internet = evil cesspit of narcissistic idiots chatting to gambling-addicted paedophiles? Or Internet = global community of inspiring humanity sharing knowledge and joy? Depends on which parent I am talking to …
Too much tech
I frown upon parents who load their kids up with digital toys and knick-knackery, then plug their ‘new improved, with USB and FireWire from birth’ offspring in to the closest device. They don’t need it!
Our childcare centre has PCs for the kids to play with. Our kids have perfect remote control-sized fingers and an uncanny ability to navigate i-anythings. I doubt that many middle-class nice kids will be left picking their scabby knees by the side of the information super highway.
Their digital lives
I also enter in to polite inter-parent debates about why social networking is not irrelevant, and every website is not selling porn. There is goodness out there, and fun, and information, and ideas.
My main point I make to these tech-terrified parents is that their children are already digital. Everywhere their non-hairy non-hardened little feet take them, these kids are surrounded by buttons and screens and keyboards.
Sensible advice from parents
I believe that mums and dads need to teach their kids how to make the right choices, about friends, risks, technology… That’s our job.
- Look before you cross the road. Cars are harder and bigger than you.
- Don’t give strangers (real people or online people) your home address, phone number, email address or parents’ credit card details. You might not be able to trust them.
- Don’t tell other people they are fat/ugly/stupid. It’s mean and you will make them sad.
- Just because it’s on a website doesn’t mean that it’s true. Some people put untrue things on websites.
- Meeting friends in person is quite fun. Sometimes more fun than sending them text messages or reading their Facebook status updates.
- Do not smoke cigarettes because you are making huge tobacco companies rich. It makes your breath smell bad.
See – it’s all just part of the sensible advice you dish out as a parent. And if they ignore you, they’ll get hit by a car driven by someone they used to call ‘peanut head’, and you’ll find a mysterious charge on your credit card for 100 cartons of Indonesian cigarettes.
Brought to you by the Interweb – baby’s first laptop
I’m not sure about baby’s first laptop. The mouse is a mouse, so that’s cute. But overall, I think it’s sort of pointless. My babies used to play with empty tissue boxes filled with rattles.