Have you given your child your iPhone to play with? Have you watched your kids’ ninja-like fingers as they conquer the X-box? Have you noticed how your teenager can communicate with their friends through five different channels? Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds and our children are running along with it. The question is, are we? Or is there a knowledge gap that’s getting wider between parent and child?
The good old days
Remember when you wrote letters by hand? When you used film in cameras? Or when you actually had to open a book to do research? Back in the ‘good old days’, things were done by paper, and information was stored in binders and folders (not spreadsheets and databases). Things were simpler. And for some, the technological change that came was hard to accept.
The rise of the machines
Our technology is advancing faster than it ever has before. The twentieth century saw the invention of the airplane, television, computer, the internet and space travel. Now, come the twenty-first century, electronics are the main focus of technological advancement. Broadband internet has become a household staple and wireless internet allows mobile phone users to access information anywhere around the world. Smartphones with ‘touch’ operating capabilities spread through society, with everyone from primary students to elderly people owning one. Taking it a step further is the exploration of quantum computing, bioengineering and nanotechnology.
Stuck in the middle
So where does that leave us parents? Caught in the middle of the new age of technology and the good old days.
LinkedIn has released a report of the ten most misunderstood jobs by parents. On this list was UI designer (1st, 88% of parents couldn’t confidently describe their child’s job), data scientist (2nd, 76%) and social media manager (4th, 61%). These results could suggest that as technology advances, a knowledge gap is widening between parents and children.
If you’re the parent of a teenager, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you use all the technologies that your child can?
- Can you use it as competently?
- Do you know what they’re looking at on the internet?
- Do you know who they’re talking to?
- Do you know how to protect them from online dangers?
Taking care of business
So what can you do if you’re a parent who wants to understand and be involved in your child’s online life? Get educated. And a new helpful resource is the book Cyber Parenting by James and Simone Boswell.
The Boswells are parents to six children and write, ‘we are living the technological change with our kids, just like you. But we are also Christian parents who view the world and all its change in the light of what the Bible says.’
Throughout their book, using easy to understand language, they explain the technologies your child is using, what they’re looking at online, and what to do when things go wrong. Most importantly, they help parents to teach their kids how to live out their faith online.
If you’re a twentieth century parent who wants to cross over into the twenty first century, it’s definitely not too late to get educated about today’s technology and shrink the knowledge gap between you and your child. Who knows, one day you might be the one telling them ‘LOL I’ll T2UL8R’.
Visit the CEP Store for more information and to order a preview of Cyber Parenting.