Sunday, March 2, 2008

Understanding your 21st Century Teenager

A conversation about the rapidly changing world of technology and its impact on your adolescent.

A colleague (school counselor) and I are organizing some conversations with parents about Teens and technology. We would like to facilitate a discussion about both the benefits, and the challenges of parenting a plugged in teen. Our challenges are to make it a conversation, NOT a presentation, about more than just Internet safety. So many "Internet Safety" presentations are "scare-fests" that freak us out about Internet predators lurking behind every URL. Teenagers and parents have so much to gain from knowing how to get around in a networked world!

Imagine a teenager who starts a blog when she is 13. Over the next four years she writes weekly about her ideas and interests. By the time she is 17, she will have amassed a portfolio of her writing and interests that will show her growth both as a writer and as a thinker. As her blog develops a readership, she will collect a community of people who will respond to her ideas and stimulate new ones. The potential for learning is huge and in my opinion, far outweigh the risks!

David Warlick's recent blog post, New Report on Internet Predators, pointed me to some new research by the American Psychological Association which breaks down many of the stereotypes about Internet predators. While we do take risks when we are Online, many of these risks have been exaggerated. Kids are going to be Online, and I truly believe that is a great thing! Yes we need to educate them about how to be responsible and safe while they are there, but we also need to educate them about how to use the Internet to its full potential.

I want to particularly thank Kate Olson, who helped inspire this idea and has been generously sharing her resources with me and helping me to gather my own. As always my edtech-network is a living example of the power of the Internet.

Image Citation: "" Leonard John Matthews' Photostream on Flickr. 25August 2007. [] 2 March 2008 .

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