A while ago I had the opportunity to speak to the P&F at our largest high school. The topic was Myspace or Yours: Possibilities and Pitfalls.
Parents wanted to spend time talking about online safety, games, and hacking! Yes, it is true that for some of our students it is hard to provide them with the online and computer challenges that they crave.
I took with me a copy of Real Wired Child by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. This is a wonderful guide for parents (unfamiliar with the online world) who want to know what their children are doing online, and what they can do to ensure their children’s wellbeing when they venture into cyberspace. Real Wired Child gives practical advice to parents on how they might manage their children’s online communications, social networking, web surfing, downloading and gaming. The truth is that we need to start teaching our students from a young age exactly how to learn, collaborate and share using blogs, wikis and more as part of everyday learning. I love the work of Al Upton and his young ‘mini-legends’ – proving that students are never to young to work in a global online world.
Michael Carr-Gregg urges parents to venture into the online world inhabited by their children and get in touch with their day-to-day lives. He explains what kids get up to, provides guidelines for family internet safety and advises how to minimise the risks without limiting your children’s freedom to learn, explore and communicate online. At $19.95 I consider this a bargain. Better still, buy some copies for the library, so parents can borrow a copy. More information available from Penguin.
I prepared a presentation for the evening, to stimulate discussion and thinking about the issues. Thanks to my (online) colleagues Graham Wegner and Sue Waters, whose earlier work provided a basis for this presentation.