Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Internet Dangers for Kids

Frontline, on PBS, will be researching the impact of the Internet on adolescence focusing on kids who are harassed or bullied and those who gain attention on You Tube. A review in the NY Times says the program examines a variety of issues worrying parents, like sexual predators, the ease of plagiarism, and a change in the nature of friendships. Think your kid's too young to participate in social networking sites? Consider Club Penguin, which is designed for kids 6-14.

Tuesday, January 22, 9:00pm on PBS (channel 28)

On a similar note, the so-called "Google Generation" (those born after 1993) isn't very good at...well, Googling.
The information literacy of young people, has not improved with the widening access to technology: in fact, their apparent facility with computers disguises some worrying problems. Internet research shows that the speed of young people’s web searching means that little time is spent in evaluating information, either for relevance, accuracy or authority."
On average, they're not very good at analyzing key words for effective searches, and they don't review search results carefully enough to verify its usefulness.

This all makes me think that if we, as parents, want to include our kids in the computer age, we really need to lay down a good foundation in reality. What does it mean to read a book or conduct research in a library? How do we decipher a good source from a bad one? We can't monitor our kids 100%, but the better the foundation we provide, the more likely our kids will be able to guide themselves safely and successfully past the dangers and pitfalls of the Net.