Monday, May 6, 2013

What Kids Are (Really) Doing Online

Maybe you’ve heard? It appears that Facebook is losing its groove. A recent survey of 5,200 teenagers found that while 33% called Facebook their “most important” social network in Spring ‘12, by Spring of this year that number had fallen to just 25%.

An unofficial survey of the eighth graders in my Cyber Civics class at Journey School yielded even worse news for Facebook. During a project that involved using social media, I asked the students how many of them used Facebook and not a single hand was raised. Instagram? Every hand shot up.  Other social networks of choice included Snapchat, Vine, and Kik Messenger.

If none of these apps sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. Most parents (and educators) are largely unaware of what their kids are doing on their digital devices, and that’s too bad because research shows that kids look to their parents more than any other source to learn how to conduct their online lives. It’s hard to be a good role model when you don’t know what it is you are modeling.

We hope that this video: “What Kids are (Really) Doing Online” will help. It’s a key element of iKeepSafe’s BE a PRO workshops to improve family literacy sponsored by Verizon Wireless and the California School Library Association (CSLA). The first phase rollout, called “BE a PRO Mobile: Connect with Confidence” is currently being introduced to a few select California schools. These workshops help bridge the generational gap many families are experiencing with technology by providing digital literacy and citizenship education. 

In addition to being research-based, this video has also been kid-approved. The narrator is not a professional voice actress but an actual device-using, 14-year old (full disclosure: my daughter) whose agent (my other daughter) insisted that her participation in this project be contingent upon full script-approval. In other words, what you will learn about “What Kids Are (Really) Doing Online” comes directly from the source.
If you have any questions after watching, please visit the NewsWise section of the CyberWise website for current news articles and research about what kids are up to online. Good luck.