How to help children become more responsible digital citizens


How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

When you give your first smartphone to your childPlease don’t let them enter the digital world unprepared. Technology executive Jennifer Zhu Scott signed a three page usage agreement with her children after they got their phones, along with suggestions that even adults should consider following.

For many modern people, getting the first smartphone in life seems to be a modern ritual. Parents may think that at a certain age (depending on their family and Culture), they are ready to own their own smartphones and enter the digital world. But with mobile phones comes the worry of most parents. Will their children be too dependent on electronic devices? Can they know how to use them responsibly?

A few years ago, Jennifer Zhu Scott, an executive at a technology investment company, and her husband decided to give their daughters their first smartphones on their 10th birthday.

But in the process, she found herself in the situation that most parents face: anxiety and thinking about the good or bad of children’s use of intelligent devices. But unlike many parents, she is well aware of the “danger” her children will face. Because her professional field is “how big companies use user’s personal data”, she has more control over user’s behavior in her working platform.

To ensure that her daughters avoid potential dangers, she has also adopted a strategy from her own industry: get them to sign a user agreement(… The three page agreement makes it clear that smartphones are more than just a gadget or toy.Mobile phones are more than just a technology. If used improperly, it can become a weapon that endangers your security or your future reputation, “the agreement added.” you have always been a good kid and we want to make sure you continue to make informed choices. “

In the 15 point agreement, Scott asked her children to sign their names on each point to show that they had read and understood it. In the agreement, they must agree to share their passwords with her; they must ask permission before signing up for a social media account; they must be open and honest about harassing or strange phone messages; they must answer any questions about how they use their phones. Part of the protocol itself is an Internet privacy crash course. The deal appeals to her daughter, something that even adults often forget: everything we post online can be read, used, and sold in ways we can’t imagine. With this in mind, here’s what she thinks every child should know before using a smartphone for the first time:

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

Point 13 of the agreement reads as follows: “I understand that my personal data will be the most valuable asset in my growth. I know that many free apps are free because they want to benefit from selling my personal data. I promise to communicate with my parents before downloading and logging into any app. “Scott explained“When you send your data out, think about what you’re going to get, not just the benefits, but the potential dangers.”Free apps like Facebook, Gmail and Google all have their own cash flow models, but they are not “free” on the surface. These companies scan your posts, emails and search results to feed back customized ads, content, and search results.

It looks like a reasonable price to pay for a free service, but Scott cautions that it’s not. First, Facebook and Gmail make billions of dollars a year from users’ personal data. She also pointed out how Facebook data manipulated voters in the 2016 US presidential election and the 2016 brexit referendum by misleading targeted ads. Therefore, the information you see on social media platforms is not all fair, neutral and correct, and it can even be decided by an unknown third party. These things affect our decisions and our lives, so when kids (and the rest of us) provide data to third parties, they risk letting themselves be controlled by technology giants.Scott said“For our children, if they want to be independent when they grow up, making their data public today will affect the extent to which they can only live in the illusion of free will.”

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

This is because, as point 12 of the agreement reminds children, “all content I upload to the Internet will remain permanently online, and in 99% of the cases, I will lose ownership of the content.” Now that software is available, it’s easy for others to manipulate images and make fake video clips from a single photo, and the technology will only become more powerful in the future.Scott said“We don’t know what’s going to happen 10 years later when our kids grow up, or what people can do with a picture you post online.”For this reason, she advocates extreme conservatism when publishing photos.

Avoid sending text messages or photos that you don’t want to forward to anyone in the school.Scott said“If it’s digital, it’s likely to be permanent.”Anyone who receives a text message can share it with others through screen capture or forwarding. Even if you just send a message to someone you trust, their mobile phone and email can be hacked. Although it may be uncomfortable, she advocates talking to your children sincerely and not sending pornographic or nude photos until they have first-hand problems. So point 5 reads, “I’ll never send or receive nude photos or any other inappropriate content. I understand that this could have serious legal consequences and endanger the future of me and my family. “

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

Point 6 of the agreement was: “I will never search for things that would embarrass me if my grandmother saw them.” This is the conclusion Scott tried to come up with an effective way to prevent her children from following their natural curiosity too much on Google and encounter obstacles in inappropriate or dangerous content. Because she couldn’t keep an eye on her daughter, she tried to instill this idea in a virtual way. Her strategy seemed to work, and she said, “my daughter, especially my little daughter, said,” my God, I’ve been thinking about it. “

When developing good habits with your mobile phone, just like in other places of your life.Scott asked her daughter to agree not to text while walking, not to use her cell phone when she was with friends and family, and not feel obliged to reply immediately. The agreement says:“Have your own life”。 To prevent the endless scrolling syndrome that most of us have experienced, especially in those fragile late nights and early mornings, she asked her daughter to give her her cell phone at 8 p.m. If not, “before you know it, you’ll be attracted to your cell phone a few hours before you go to bed,” Scott said. Charging your phone in another room “is a way to protect your family life and mental health,” she added Just as it’s so tempting to open an app when we can’t sleep, it’s easy for mobile phones to make us reply to text messages rashly, and then regret it the next day (or a few minutes). For this reason, she told the children to “sleep” before replying to uncertain text messages. Better yet, if you have to deal with a tough situation, do it yourself instead of “texting things that you won’t say in person,” Scott wrote in the agreement.

Before you post – what will you think ten years from now? Scott’s children agree with point 7, which says, “I understand that my behavior on my mobile phone will affect my future reputation – even in a way that I can’t predict or see.” She repeated this by showing children pictures of themselves wearing diapers 10 years ago. “They said, ‘Oh, it’s disgusting, it’s embarrassing,'” I said, “well, you know, at your age, you don’t feel embarrassed.” The same is true of posts on social media: things that look interesting today can be shameful in 10 or 20 years’ time.

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

Scott points out,“When you’re a good person, you don’t present a completely different image online.”Since social media is a powerful way to spread information, she urges her children and everyone to think carefully about what they post on social media. “Do you help spread positive, constructive and rational information?” she asked

For kids and technology, boundaries matter, and trust matters. For example, in point 2 of the agreement, Scott has passwords for all her children, but she rarely uses them.

It’s not too late to be a responsible digital citizen.Scott said“Our generation didn’t know what it was when they entered social media, so we went in.”But adults still have a way to make up for lost time.

For digital citizens, who are also parents, she has a piece of advice: please don’t post photos of your children online. “My heart aches when I see people putting pictures of their babies on twitter,” Scott said When your child decides one day to become a social media influencer, don’t make a decision for them in advance. They may also want to be completely anonymous on the Internet. “I just don’t think parents should let this information out before their children have time to make a decision,” she said

So far, Scott thinks her user agreement with the children is going well. “I’m very happy for my children because both of them have a strong sense of privacy and data awareness.”

How to help children become more responsible digital citizens

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