I conveniently have an =18 (just barely) living with me. We have had little chats about safety online and how quickly things can get out of control. He is aware of (and tells me he practices) the rules – no personal information that will allow him to be tracked down, no flaming (is that term still used?), no pictures he wouldn’t want either his mother or his future employer to see. When he started on World of Warcraft a few years ago, I made sure he hadn’t lied about his age; he understood the reason and, in the end, I think he appreciated it. I made sure to tell him plenty of scare stories illustrating worst possible scenarios. And we watch enough crime shows together that use technology to find out all your secrets for him to think that anything he puts up is “private”.
He only uses Facebook and text messages to keep in touch with people. As far as I am aware, he has only 1 personae. My daughter, when she was younger, dabbled in the multiples but decided in the end that it was all too much effort. She also decided (after trying it out, I might add) that personal and work/school should be separate.
I think we should just take the bull by the horns and educate them with the tools they use. If anyone thinks their children are minding all the rules – they should hark back to the shenanigans they got up to and never told their parents about! I think that many parents don’t feel equipped to deal with some of the issues and try the wall approach. What does this leave our children exposed to when they suddenly don’t have the wall? If we give our kids responsibility based on their ability to handle it – increasing freedom over time – in their physical world/life, we should do the same with their on-line life. Heavily monitored when they are young, teaching them the rules and the whys and wherefores. Decreasing control as they exhibit good decision-making and maturity. If this is enforced at school as well, with stress on the tools that have the most ability to pose problems, by the time the average child hits adulthood, they should be well prepared to think before they act.
I think we should all remember that sometimes, no matter what you do, some children will set out to deliberately do all the wrong things. Wish this weren’t so, but it is.
Obviously, working in a library, I do most tasks these days on a computer. It has been wonderfully freeing for accessing information instantly. It is possible to put together a range of “documents” with ease – font, images, size, color, effects, links. Information from trusted sources, opinions, discussions – all can be used to ponder, muse, reflect, respond. I think it has made it easier to learn – if you want to. Many prestigious universities offer courses you can audit. Anything new comes up, changes made to existing tools – can access it all right now – as it happens.
I think that, like everything else, the impact on us is all in how it is used/abused. (Twitter – fun … until someone uses it ruin your life) Long-distance communications is a snap, collaboration across the world, sharing … I love all that stuff about technology. But, I do have my concerns. I think we are less “free” in a way. Have to have the phone at all times; why engage with what I am looking at on vacation when I can be sending photos of it to people who couldn’t care less. If I don’t prove I am there, my experience won’t be validated. OMG! Companies and the government accumulate information on us – and we don’t know exactly what they know, or how they plan to use it. Some people have unleashed their inner bully because they can be anonymous. I could probably go on and on and on about both pros and cons. But I won’t.
Technology and learning are a natural fit. We use information to teach, we teach information evaluation, so why shouldn’t we teach/model responsible use of technology?
I have chosen: curious, creative, focused, adaptable, organized. Technology promotes access to information that responds to curiosity. All of the on-line tools available these days make it easy to record, film, edit, draw, write … a creative persons dreamworld! (I am hanging out for a 3d printer) Focus gets you most effective use in searching and mastering tools. Some children have a hard time focusing in regular ways. If you learn best by hearing, you could get your computer to read your lessons to you. Finding a group of people online that have the same interest and can support you – that can help give your life focus. When new information and technology and circumstances come along, it helps to be able to take these on and try them out and incorporate the ones you like (adaptable). Organization implies control and understanding. You want to able to use everything all this technology is streaming past you? Better be able to store it where you can find it and understand if and how it is inter-related.
Hmmm. My predictions…Well, I think it would be great to have a person beam in from across the world to do a presentation, take a class, whatever. I want to be able to print out stuff on my 3D printer. (Could I print out an entire car?) If I want to do distance learning, I would like a more interactive experience (because I always have questions!). Has anyone seen what Microsoft (?) has done with the gaming experience? Pretty amazing. Moved it beyond the screen to the entire room! I could be very happy with growing my own kidney (should I need one) – not so happy about having machine parts. Maybe they stick something up in the atmosphere to control the ozone and whatever else – can we manufacture an Ice Age by mistake? “Whoops!, Sorry!” just won’t do …
But – I plan to be taking it all with a grain of salt and pick and choose what I incorporate into my life.