Children, Church and the Digital Age (#DigitalParenting with @drbexl)
Children, Church & the
Dr Bex Lewis, Digital Fingerprint
4th June 2015 for: http://www.acts-scotland.org/
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
With digital technology we
need to cultivate an
attitude of respect, rather
than of risk-avoidance.
The digital is a part of our
everyday lives, and it’s not
going to go away. There
are huge opportunities
available for those who
have learnt how to be
inhabitants of the digital
Published 2014, Lion Hudson
The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual
world, but is part of the daily experience of many people,
especially the young. Social networks are the result of
human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the
dynamics of communication, which builds relationships: a
considered understanding of this environment is
therefore a prerequisite for a significant presence
Pope Benedict XVI (2013)
The CHILDWISE “Digital Lives” Report asked children to go back in time
and explain to Victorian children what the internet was.
Many of the oldest tried to explain how the internet works, but others,
and especially the younger children, focused on what the internet
enables them to do – a place to communicate, to find things out, to play
games, to create and have fun. Several referred explicitly to the all-
encompassing nature of what is on offer to them via the internet. (My
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p64
• On social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo etc, it’s okay to put
your address and telephone number on your profile page.
• There is no harm in putting the name of the school you attend on your
social networking profile page.
• It’s easy to forget the Internet is a public space.
• Once photos have been posted on the Internet they can’t be removed.
• If you have been chatting to someone who knows someone who knows
someone who knows someone you know, does this make them your
friend? Should you be chatting to them online?
• People with bad intentions use the Internet to make friends with
• If you were on the street chatting to someone you liked the look of but
didn’t know, would you give them your mobile number?
• When using social media sites you would only write things on your wall or
post pictures that you would be happy for your parents to see.
• It’s illegal to send indecent pictures of yourself or anyone else.
• When chatting to people on Internet or through games consoles, you can
tell if they are telling the truth.
Many people believe young people don’t care
about privacy, but research has demonstrated that
they do and are largely confident about managing
their privacy settings, with less than 1 per cent
describing the process on Facebook as “very
difficult”. Some also feel that online spaces offer
more safety, privacy, and control than offline ones
(especially if they share a room), with one girl
(fourteen to fifteen) saying, “The real world’s not
that safe, is it?”
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p89
• EXERCISE: Try a Google search of your child’s name,
and its variations (consider doing this with your
child). Check variations of your name; for example, I
would look for “Rebecca Lewis” as well as “Bex
• Encourage your child to think about what their profile
would look like if an alien landed and just had their
social media to read.
• List the types of information they are sharing, the
issues associated with sharing, and the appropriate
actions that should be taken to avoid problems
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p98
EXERCISE: Bearing in mind that we are looking for
values that work offline as well as online, have a
discussion and get your child to draw up a list of the top
ten values that they want to demonstrate online (e.g.
honesty, friendliness, etc.). If they are keen, consider a
list of behaviour to avoid as well, and the consequences
of engaging in those negative practices.
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p41
One noticeable difference in the digital era, especially as
the social platforms have stabilized, is that it’s difficult to
leave anyone behind, which can be delicate to negotiate:
Generally, it is socially unacceptable to delete a Friend
one knows. When this is done, it is primarily after a fight
or breakup. In these situations, the act of deletion is
spiteful and intentionally designed to hurt the other
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p.106
Signs specific to cyber-bullying?
•Long hours on the computer
•Secretive Internet use
•Refusing to log on or answer phone
•Extreme possessiveness of phone, to
which constant nervous looks are
• No shame: not their fault
• Don’t threaten their online access
• Spend extra time together: time
• Nurture self-confidence
•Keep copies of messages as ‘proof’
•Understand how to ‘block’ accounts
•Talk to child re contacting school
•Think hard before talking to parents of
•Get phone number blocked
The bully doesn’t see the
distress that they cause, feels
safe from capture, and
protected by the technology,
able to say things that they
would never say offline.
ITV, February 2005
•One in five think sending a message in
cyberspace is less damaging than
face to face insults
•Half the teenagers polled believe it is
ok to say things online that you would
not in person
•A third of youths say they troll because
their friends do so too.
My child a bully…?
•Someone will tell you
•Talks about other children at
school negatively or
•Has money, toys, or other
items that don’t belong to
Increased time spent online will most likely
increase exposure to negative experiences – but
also the positive opportunities. Nancy Willard, a
cyberbullying expert, calls for us to work on the
“understanding that the vast majority of young
people want to make good choices, do not
want to be harmed, and do not want to see
their friends or others harmed”. We can’t control
their whole environment, online or offline, so
parents need to give their children the capability to
deal with problems as they come across them.
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p.63
Ferguson, a professor from Texas A&M
who researches technologies’ effects
on human behaviour:
“Youth today are the least
aggressive, most civically
involved, and mentally well in
several generations .”
‘Imagining the Internet: Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives’, Pew Research Center,
“On average 11 children are killed by a
stranger each year in the UK … there
are more than 11 million children in the
550 UK Abductions
Less than 1/5: unknown
• EXERCISE: Take time to talk to your child
about hopes and fears for online friendships.
Establish ground rules for meeting up with a
new “friend”, including meeting in a public
place, being with friends, having a back-up
plan, and agreeing not to be left alone with
• Raising Children in a Digital Age, p125
The media have focused heavily on the “dangers of
porn” online for children, to the extent that many parents
feel they are powerless to stop it. Professor Livingstone
adds that debate in this area can be difficult, as the
media tend to mix up a range of complex issues into one
big scare story. The EU Kids Online survey
demonstrated that only 6,000 of the 25,000 children
surveyed had encountered even a single sexual image
online; still a high number but not every child, in contrast
to the media impression.
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p144
We need to have more to
say than ‘porn is bad’
• ‘Rite of Passage’? = No
• ‘Being a Man’? = No
• Girls see as harmless? = ?
• Education? = Best
• In churches, if waiting til
marriage = not ‘doing’!
• EXERCISE: Identify stories about
grooming from the press, and get
children to discuss how they might have
behaved differently, and to think about
possible conclusions “if” different
choices had been made.
• Raising Children in a Digital Age, p152
The core signs of addiction
• The activity becomes the most important thing in a person’s
• Moods change in accordance with the activity.
• Continually higher doses of an activity are required to achieve
the original sensations.
• Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression are
experienced when the activity is stopped.
• Increasing conflict occurs with those in the closest social circle.
• There is a tendency to return to the activity after periods of
• The “sunk cost” fallacy is experienced: not wanting to abandon
something after so much time has been sunk into it.
Raising Children in a Digital Age, p168
• EXERCISE: Have some fun with your child,
undertaking some “no-limits futurology”.
What do they think life will look like in x
number of years? Think about creating a
“souvenir” book to bring back out at that time
in the future.
• Raising Children in a Digital Age, p213
As a youth leader, it is a very convenient way of
messaging and informing members of our youth
group, and inviting them to events and
[connecting with] each other when we're not
together… Sadly for your child to be the only one
in a group NOT to have access to Facebook can
itself be a matter for isolation - they may not get
invitations to youth events for example, and
ridicule and bullying for being the 'odd one out'.
• The principles applied to this are:
• Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.
• Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and deliberation.
• Be cordial, honest and professional at all times. Be responsive. When
you gain insight, share it where appropriate.
• Be integrated. Wherever possible, align online participation with other
• Be a good representative of the Methodist Church. Remember that
you are an ambassador for Christ, the Church and your part of it.
Disclose your position as a member or officer of the Church, making it
clear when speaking personally.
• LetGalatians 5:22-26 guide your behaviour.
• Be respectful: respect confidentiality. Respect the views of others
even where you disagree.
Methodist Church Guidelines
• Use clear, unambiguous
abbreviations that can be
• Take care with sign-offs
• Leaders/Young People develop agreed
• Line manager // access to social media
• Second leader ‘in the room’
• Save messages/disclosures for use later if
• Be prepared for ‘deeper’ disclosures
• Be clear on how much advice/source
you can give.
• Add a disclaimer on how you might
need to share their information.
Whether you are a church leader, children’s ministry practitioner, or someone trying to resource your church in this area, you may feel the responsibility for helping keep children safe online but also want to know how they and you can use it to its full advantage.
In this day course, developed from Raising Children in a Digital Age (Lion Hudson, 2014), internet scare stories and distorted statistics are put into context, clear and sensible guidelines are offered. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss your hopes, fears and experiences with others in a similar situation, and study examples of how others have used social media successfully with children and young people.
Start approx 10.30am, with a 5 min intro/devotion
Assume 10.05 starting point (though could be 1015), finishing by 330pm.
… Hello, introduce self… (if not seen this before = the famous ‘Twitter’ – latest incarnation of it – changed again recently – often things change look, but general function = same, so don’t let looks put you off).
Wondering how many of you are confident social media users? FB, Twitter, or what?
The importance that it is ‘raising children’ – we all have responsibility for the children that are raised in our society … we don’t have to biologically have children to have some kind of responsibility – although of course that is important . Designed to focus upon the digital environment, the possibilities there, and how to manage the risks that are evident in all parts of our lives … rather than give parenting advice – you either already know everything there is to know on that, or you’ll combine this with a different book
5 mins – have a series of statements that people agree/don’t agree with…
EXERCISE: Stand up if you… (discuss)
Have a Facebook account (is it personal/work?)
Check a social media site before you talk to anyone else in your house in the morning
Have a Twitter account (is it personal/work – are these overlaps acceptable?)
Have tweeted or posted a Facebook status update in the last 2 hours
Tweeted from the wrong Twitter account
Used Snapchat or Whatsapp?
Have decided to ignore a particular social media site for a specific reason
Used a digital camera?
Watched a YouTube video?
Read a paper newspaper in the past week (the Metro counts)?
Read an online newspaper in the past week
A fan of social media
Are NOT a fan of social media
Have considered talking down a competitor instead of talking up yourself (on a social media site)
If you chose a particular URL shortener for a reason rather than picking randomly
Love what you/your work stands for.
Have any form of social media strategy in place?
As the church has previously sought to understand overseas cultures, for the purposes of both discipleship and mission, so now it seeks to engage with digital culture – a space where many spend a considerable amount of time daily. (previous) Pope Benedict XVI put it this way (2013): [quote]
The Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:22-23) was mission-centric, respecting and adapting to the culture in which he found himself, rather than imposing himself upon it.
Take a statement from each person as to what excited/worried about .. Note on next screen…
Understanding where the headlines come from, how you can dig beneath them, and why we need to engage.
EXERCISE: Take time to think about the news stories you’ve seen in recent weeks. What are they focusing on? Are they seeking to scare or to support? Do a bit of ‘media studies’ with them…
Headlines = full of disaster, children are addicted to screens, being abducted via Facebook, giving away all their information, sexting, running up bills, becoming couch potatoes, watching porn, meeting strangers and bullying and trolling at every opportunity. I exaggerate, but then so does the news – which (by its nature) is focused on the new/the unusual and has left many people with a feeling that there’s very little that they can do …
Set off to look into the research that’s already out there, and 120 new questionnaire responses…
Challenging Fears: Brief Lessons from History
Every new technology = moral panics (my experience with TV aged 17 … looked like I was addicted!) … and each seems to be the end of ‘the way we used to do things’ (invented tradition)…. A part of ‘technological determinism’.. (there’s terrible stuff in the newspapers, on the TV, but do we stop looking at those?)
Dan Gardner ‘Risk’ – we’re the healthiest, wealthiest, safest generation in history, but the most terrified… example post 9/11 flights/road accidents… but not ‘newsworthy’ in the same way.
Families have also changed – children have more role in ‘decision making’, the types of families we have have changed and come in many more shapes…
5 minute video to watch…
2 mins 23 – a great response…
Give chance to discuss the 2 films together … the importance of online/offline, and how these videos could be used within a youth club setting… leading into thinking about digital culture, and how youth/parents/schools can work together…
Digital Culture: Why it matters that we join in
Professor Tanya Byron, author of the Byron Report (2008), said: “I found the more that I understood what [my children] were experiencing, the more I felt empowered to support them to [go online] responsibly and safely, and the more freedom I felt comfortable for them to have”.
Best way to engage with children = to have a better knowledge of the threats that they are facing – and don’t forget the possibilities … the technology = much wider/faster connections (all has up/downsides). Digital Revolution affected all our lives whether choose to participate or not.. Huge huge huge numbers online
So, what are the particular characteristics of digital culture? Digital material is both more ephemeral and more permanent than previous communication methods. It can be difficult to remove and it is easy to change, replicate, and share, which makes it difficult to distinguish between originals and their replicas. What the community chooses to highlight may not be what the author intended, and material can be disseminated fast, but this also means that a response can be made more quickly. Users can have a sense of being invisible, which can lead to irresponsible behaviour, but can also provide the anonymity necessary to encourage someone to engage with online support sites. We should remember, however, that, with a little work, anyone can be found and identified. In digital culture people tend to engage with increasing numbers of “friends”: it can be harder to detect possible risk, but those with “unique interests” can find friends more easily online.
Need to be digitally literate, and not see tech as ‘the bad guy’ (like a brick – through window or build house) – lots of easier ways to stay in touch, and great opportunities for those with special needs...; Talking online/offline rather than virtual/real…
2.5 mins (don’t forget USB stick) // if anyone came the other week, apologies for duplication – but still ‘the best’…
Like electricity – don’t need to know inside/out to use it … same with technology these days.. But giving an insight into the current top tools (though this will date the book quickly, no way round it really)… and actually many of the top tools – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc have been fairly stable for several years now – definitely not moving as fast as it used to – so many platforms bought by each other, etc… Advice particularly focused on how to take control of your information (are a great many ways you can).
Give an overview…
Think about hashtag conversations on Twitter – connect with other youth leaders, exchange ideas (takes time to build relationships), whilst also advertising?
Facebook groups – rather than 1-2-1 friendships (I was never friends with undergraduates – bit different now)
Instagram = huge … sharing pictures – think of ways to share that are interesting/clever
Google+ = well…
LinkIn – particularly important for those looking for corporate fields.
Think about who you might want to attract to engage… are you trying to connect with parents, or the kids themselves, can you create a YouTube video to train those you want involved? Can you get people (care with children/cameras, etc.) to share their thoughts on short/snappy videos, or Instagram items that children have produced, etc?
See sites such as … not comprehensive … I’d write some with some time/££!
Should be here around 11.25am
Children in Digital Culture
Yes, children spending more time on technology – become cheaper/more accessible – but that doesn’t mean that they ‘misbehave more’ – there are new ways to do things…
The ‘myth’ of the digital native .. They are not so very different – still human beings – are not beyond our reach, just need some time to understand. How can make more positive choices, and see what changes in the teenage years (13+ when children legally online, etc.) – habit forming age, technology not seen as ‘technology’ – it just is..
Advertising, consumerism, the digital divide – where do kids turn to for advice (their friends) – start to think how to make yourself more of a confidante.
Not convinced by the term – any more than gendered terms, etc. – we are all unique, but those younger than us have grown up with the technology – but 5, 10, 15 year olds = very different experiences!!
Is there really such a thing as a ‘digital native’ – and how do we relate?
Still essentially human…
The importance of communication – at home and within the group – helpfulness of PEER CONVERSATIONS
Talking to children about technology – many parents as nervous as talking about sex, but this is the most powerful tool/technique available…
Ensure each negative statement about tech, etc. accompanied by positive where possible so doesn’t look like dismissing out of hand.. Chelsea Clinton did this re other forms of media whilst she was growing up.
Internet Safety Agreement – work with kids to define one that works for your own family…
Creating internet agreements – get the kids to think about it, then bring parents in for the end of the session … lots of support – and hopefully better agreement if they got to a friend’s house they will more likely agree with each other, etc…
Importance of having buy-in … try developing it in an evening with conversation… more respect for peers than for
The ‘agree/disagree’ game
Get three sheets of paper. Write ‘Agree’ on one, ‘Disagree’ on one and ‘Not sure’ on the third. Place the ‘Agree’ and ‘Disagree’ sheets at opposite ends of the room with the ‘Not sure’ sheet in the middle. Ask the young people to stand up; makea statement (you could choose one from the list below) and ask them to vote with their feet and stand at either the ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’ end (or the middle) depending on how they feel. Ask them why they are stood where they are. Can they persuade each other that they are right? If anyone is unsure, why might that be? Encourage them to talk one at a time, listening to each other. Provide further information if necessary, or say something controversial to provoke conversation. When discussion has reached a certain point, you might want to ask if they would like to change their mind and move again.
Below we have provided you with some statements. Select some that you think are relevant to your group.
Practical Advice: Privacy & Permanency
Martha Payne (NeverSeconds) – her Dad still checks everything she receives first… (age 9) – a brief overview of the changing capabilities of children – essentially younger = ‘walled garden’, older = deeper insights. Facebook = 13, many parents think 11 or think is up to them…
Facebook influenced much – Zuckerberg believed privacy = dead, but children actually seem to be pretty intelligent about this – and if they aren’t – warning is not to go mad at them, but help them improve the situation..
The pros & cons of monitoring and filtering – can’t really just rely on the technology to stop things appearing in front of your children – none of the systems = as sophisticated as human beings.. Of value to younger members of family … not once get older – again – back to communication… trust/conversation…
Location services/managing digital footprint…
What does this make you think of? It’s not about NOT going on here, but about thinking more carefully before you press the ‘send’ button…
Digital footprint/fingerprint… (can try this with own name of someone in the room)
(Bearing in mind that these are now customised by connections, past searches, location, etc… but you certainly have an online presence, even if you haven’t actively made one – so how do you/youth make this better…)
Identity, Values and Authenticity
Turkle = photoshopped selves = danger that we’re only projecting a particular image of ourselves – I would say yes, but think do in all situations, and we need to raise awareness that people are not sharing everything of themselves online (nor do they in any situation) .. These were ideas from early days of the internet, but filtered into our everyday thinking…
Children need role models – if parents have mobiles attached to them, then have no leg to stand on when try to remonstrate with children.
Photoshopped Selves video… 3 min-ish video – pressure to present a particular self online? Part of general cultural pressures, not unique to the digital – we construct an image in every space – in fact allow options to experiment and meet others within a specific niche?
Examples of negative teen body image are all over the Web. In YouTube videos, kids ask an Internet audience to tell them if they're pretty or ugly. They rate each other on Instagram. They bare themselves and beg for feedback on formspring.me. They edit their selfies and drink in advice about how to improve their online image.
Why are teens turning to the Internet for body image validation? Well, because they can. In adolescence, self-consciousness and the need for peer-validation are at their height, and the Internet acts as a kind of "super peer," providing a quick route to satisfying both concerns.
Think about how things can be done differently, rather than ‘we are all like sheep’… (e.g. the ALS challenge seemed ‘nicer’, but I still objected to the ‘forced’ element).
Including authenticity – can see this working well as a group exercise? Can start these kind of conversations at a very young age…
Think about what that might look like behaviour wise – think about fruits of Galatians and what those might look like in the digital spaces..
Remember that anything that you write online – even in private messages, etc. are easy to copy & paste – and out of your control onve you write them down… quite a good benchmark is thinking of these people who might read it … it may place limitations on what you write – being open and authentic does not mean shove it all out without filters!!
You may still post, but at least you will post with awareness that you may attract kickback, etc..
I think of – before I post – God, Your Mum, ‘The kids’, The newspaper, Your worst enemy
The word ‘friendship’ has changed as we now ‘friend’ others on Facebook – children can’t afford to not accept friend requests from those they interact with in the physical space (e.g. school) as has repercussions for offline life… (and most are offline connections)
Huge amount of online etiquette – including who connect with, speed of response, what you like, etc..
Facebook depression (more/less socially active)
Friendship, 150 people, etc. another discussion topic… FOMO, measure of friendship… SHOULD all be less of a problem pre-13, but we all know that’s not quite how it works…
Situation of particular concern = (Cyber-bullying)… want to focus on the 3 groups of people involved here..
Don’t want to use term victim, as are not powerless…. But this is the group that we are most concerned about as every individual case is a tragedy … but is it as bad as we fear?
We may be familiar with the signs of bullying (Unexplained headaches, Nausea, Bedwetting , Mood swings, Aggression, Night terrors, Fall behind on school-work, Avoid going to school or leaving the house, Become anti-social) and these may be present … though could also be signs of being teenage .. But particular to cyber-bullying …
Note that may be worth taking time away from online for a while to take a breath and think about how you are going to deal with things when you go back online … come back to some of that with bystanders in a minute…
Be aware a persistent bully may have multiple IDs so need to keep vigilant…
If decide to talk to parent, write down facts/keep calm … people are always going to protect their own and may find it hard to believe that their child is a bully… or don’t want to!
Remove info = legal obligation to do so, but can take time… esp e.g. YouTube where multiple copies can be made … best to think BEFORE posting (unlike post first, ask forgiveness later)
So, let’s have a brief look at who/why bullies partake…
Feels disconnected from impact of bullying (like WW2 bombers), and can find ways to justify it, often dehumanising the victim … it’s that danger of seeing the screen rather than the person behind the screen!
The stats seem to support that (though we don’t know enough this report)…
Online = human nature amplified…
‘Web trolls preying on children’, ITV, http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-02-22/youth-charity-launches-campaign-against-internet-trolling-lauren-goodger-caroline-flack-vinspired, 22/02/13
People typically don’t want to think this… and these signs don’t mean that they are bullying, but it is time to open the conversation! How much responsibility does a group leader have for watching out for this?
Need help not banishment - Need to learn from their mistakes – how do we help them see the reality/take responsibility for what they see (a form of restorative justice) - If feel abandoned will seek others who will support how they feel.
Explain what bullying is. Talk about what they are doing, and why
Monitor your child’s use of e-devices
Talk to school/youth group about their approach to bullying for consistency
Listen in case they are being bullied, or avoiding being bullied – and feels only way is to become a bully themselves.
May remove their devices as ‘appropriate punishment’?
Shaheen, S. & Churchill, A.H., Truths and Myths of Cyber-bullying: International Perspectives on Stakeholder Responsibility and Children’s Safety, Peter Lang Publishing, 2009, p7
If we refuse to engage – what is that doing .. Can be scary, but this phrase is powerful..
Things move fast, so others can pile in – but can also use this to your advantage to get other friends, etc. to support you as well…
(e.g. when people are being attacked for their lifestyle, etc.)
… to bring it back to Biblical thinking … am I misusing this Bible verse, but it seems worth holding onto – the same as in offline life … think about what we are doing online!
So – plenty to mull over there in the break time.
Here by 12.30
‘Stranger Danger’ (incredibly rare) – and as parents increasingly make friends online, again, seems ironic to say to kids ‘don’t’, rather than helping them do so safely..
US survey in 2006 – out of nearly 300k abducted, only 12 were unknown… again, down to good comms…
http://www.lindenhurststrangerdanger.com/?page_id=2 - Rarely were the offenders of young victims strangers. Strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.-Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement, 7/00, NCJ 182990, U.S. Department of JusticeRead More http://www.lindenhurststrangerdanger.com
Unfortunately recent years have seen an increase in child abductions in Britain. But - and it's an important but - although the percentage increase may seem high, in terms of the numbers involved they are still very small. On average 11 children are killed by a stranger each year in the UK (and there are more than 11 million children in the UK), a figure that has not increased since the 1970s. Statistically children are more at risk of abuse from someone they know. Of course the murder or abuse of any child is a tragedy but the actual statistics do imply that our parental anxieties about stranger danger are misplaced.
What an increasingly mobile world means (youtube video), including dealing with ‘sex talk’
Mobile = cheaper, more accessible, appropriate contracts – so now the tool of choice for many – including kids.
FOMO/need to respond = little digifree time – is the mobile becoming an intruder on other situations – many have set rules re e.g. mealtimes, etc.
Worries about e-babysitter – though “OK” for educational purposes.. Work with them as they download apps (and ensure password on – throughout = are simple things that can be done…)
Ensuring mobile phone costs are managed, and what age (secondary school for most, smartphone GCSE..)
Worries about shortform text = damaging use of English = more creative…
Make use of it – take them geocaching, get them excited about travel/where they are going, record things ongoing, use for accountability, etc..
One thing to be aware of here is the notion of digital divide … how to use these without making those who don’t have feel lost (those in schools, etc. may have access, but it’s a v. different type of access….)
Again = human behaviour exaggerated = more vulnerable offline, also online…
Issues of the dangers of porn = complex, but tend to be condensed in the press… for years children have gone through ‘rite of passage’ – but now = easier to get hold of, more explicit, etc.. And changing expectations of what is normal sexual behaviour. Boys, unsurprisingly, more likely to seek it out (and is a danger as looking for those their age, are going to get in trouble for accessing those underage).
Numbers of pedophiles difficult to determine as tend not to self-declare, and most stats comes from e.g. filtering companies… there is a danger, but more from those who are known – so good to be aware – and remember the technology can help you FIND children too…
Sexting = age old pressure ‘if you don’t going to ditch you’ … so children need same advice to take care what share/when – as once out there – can spread fast…
All about putting this stuff in perspective, not getting hopeless…
Professor Livingstone, however, points out that children often challenge the representations seen online,6 and famous blogger “Belle de Jour” would argue that to “help them understand pornography as entertainment, as opposed to how sex should be, we need to stop skipping the subject of real sex and real relationships when talking to young people”.7 As Livingstone’s research demonstrates, pornography doesn’t exist in a social vacuum: in Western cultures where men and women are purportedly treated as social equals, and assault and harassment are seen as wrong, some citizens of all ages are likely to challenge the existence of pornography as a given.8 – debates include lots of stuff about filtering…
1/3 10 year olds seen porn, 12-17 year olds are largest group consuming it. 83% boys and 57% of girls seen group sex online. Stumbling on it, not searning for it.
Jason describes porn as ‘intimacy junk good’, miscommunication of expectation – sizes are not ‘real’, activities are not ‘healthy’. Noted young boy said’ porn has been lying to me’ …
Get over the prudishness and have the conversations.. May reduce the pressure to partake – is it really the norm? (Same as for bullying)
How much can we talk about what is positive rather than what we are against?
JUST A LINK – don’t show it now…
(10 minute film on Sexting = good discussion point). Designed for 14+ - definitely worth a conversation – what kind of tone of voice does the message take – is there any hope? How would your group react to this?
Grooming – always make the headlines in particular – is there a pedophile around every corner – think about US stats from 2006 … 12 out of 300k were not known to those abducted… Make part of ongoing conversation … digital is a part of everyday lives … this not so much, but need to be aware of it…
For younger children start with videos such as NSPCC ‘Underwear Rule’…
Keeping healthy and within the law, including screen-time and gaming
Seen as Wild West, but it’s not – laws still apply (usually the originating country) – especially copyright – see this with students – see it as a compliment … all images in this presentation have been purchased under license…
Plagiarism, music, film, apps… dangers of viruses with illegal info…
Need to set up desk properly … more worrying = pro-mia sites, etc. advice on how to eat even less, etc.
EXERCISE: Take time to look at your computer spaces and implement the advice above. Make a family pact to follow the 20–20–10 rule.
Brain changing – everything you do affects brain change = not necessarily bad…
Addiction – is it really addiction? Is it affecting schoolwork, attention spans? Can people really multitask? Are these things all bad or are we just holding onto things that we treasure? Conversational ability (more social) and danger of couch potatoes – use whatever interest online and take it offline…
Seem familiar? Most are not ‘truly addicted’ – and what about the difference between e-books/’real’ books = at least they are reading!
Standard advice = keep computer in a central room in the house – especially once teenage years = not really possible…
Am Assoc Pead = consistently says 2 hours of screentime max …
Bedroom culture (if they are not being allowed out – then… ); digital time out – think back to ‘Look up’ that we saw at the beginning of the day… ; reading online (is it about the book content or the book format?)
Gaming – not so much my thing, but increasing complexity of games online – without an end point, and rewards for the more time spent online/just one more level…
Some argue has increased dexterity, sociability, esp for autistic kids…
Are worries is violent, addictive and expensive… similar fears about horror films, most of which disproved by media ‘experts’.
In education we talk about ‘gamification’ of learning – making it fun (though some stuff still just has to be got through) – can find ways to make stuff fun – e.g. can Bible stories be re-written as Buzzfeed/Upworthy style titles?
Technology = prepares kids for the job market, OK to lurk & learn.
Need for criticality (not always seen amongst early students) – need to be aware to avoid scams/Snopes, etc.
Social Justice (clicktivism/activism)
Wide range of information
Increased connectivity and collaboration
Global nature of online
New creative opportunities
Increased accessibility for those with disabilities
EXERCISE: Talk to your child about a subject they are passionate about. Consider how the internet can help them to become more informed, and how they might begin to take action. (p199)
I spotted this on Facebook as I was coming to the end of writing this book. It was posted by Will Taylor (communications manager, youth worker, and dad), and seems to sum up what is required of parents in the digital sphere:
Do it for themDo it with themWatch while they do itLet them do it for themselves.
Parents increasingly taking responsibility for grandkids – need to be consistent – greatest growth = accessing pics
Teachers = particular concerns – much of it defensive, but how can encourage children to engage whilst protecting self
Youth leaders = need for good boundaries, etc. – we’re going to come back to policies, etc. after the break…
Only constancy is change … cannot make Internet 100% safe so need to give children confidence/skills – by giving them opportunities to engage online… (swimming pool analogy)
If there’s time, do this as an exercise…
Thinking about particular uses to which can be put…
Role Model! By operating in social media communities, youth workers unin- tentionally exercise external, goal-oriented communication aimed at pro- moting, for example, a sense of community, interaction, active participa- tion, agency, fun or online dialogue.
Think about whether trying to connect with the children or the parents … which is the most useful group and which are most likely to be online?
Keeping in the loop of content from others (aside from Facebook, Twitter, etc..)
Like Karate – etiquette not a ‘spiritual’ thing, but a relational thing…
Ref: Paul Windo, Urban Saints
e.g. LOL = double meanings
Avoid e.g. “luv” or “xxx”.
In digital communications with youth/children, be aware that they may be prepared to disclose more than they would face-to-face. Ensure that those in your groups understand that you are not qualified to provide counselling (unless you are!), but can give general advice within a personal capacity. Consider adding a disclaimer such as this as to what you may do with their information:
If there is a concern, e.g. that the sender or someone else, particularly a child, may be at risk of serious harm, we may need to share those concerns. In such circumstances we would inform the sender giving details of who would be contacted and what information would be given.
More accountability, protect personal lives… Note that Facebook terms and conditions do not allow users to have more than one profile.
http://www.ccpas.co.uk/ProvidePolicies.html (can purchase a policy)
Some useful links - http://www.methodistlondon.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital%20Safety%20Contacts.pdf - what does the CofE have that’s accessible?
2011/12 – so poss a bit old, but also possibly worth investigating..
Q&A, thinking about specific scenrios that you’ve worked with – may require some Google searching – or sharing good ideas of what has worked, etc…
Final word – remember – there is always a human being at the other end of the keyboard… think before you type…
Questions? Thank you for your time and participation…