October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Many of the dangers you’ll hear discussed over the next month can be tamed (but not wholly eliminated) with some careful planning, discussion and thought, and especially by parental involvement in kids' online activities.
At our Digital Family Summit conference, October 11-13 in Baltimore, we'll do a lot of educating and talking with families about online safety, but we'll also spend a lot of our energy celebrating the opportunities and rewards for kids becoming digital media creators.
Here are a few reasons why we think your kids, and your whole family, should be online (at the level appropriate for their age, of course):
1) Community: We gather kids and their parents together from all over the country to meet face-to-face at Digital Family Summit, and one of the things that people seem to love most is the opportunity to connect with likeminded people. The Internet is a way for kids to find their own communities. Whether they are MineCraft Enthusiasts, dachshund owners, eco-minded teens, or cricket fans, their community (or communities) are out there. The Internet will help them find others like them, no matter where they are geographically.
2) Knowledge: There’s an old saying that Knowledge is Power. We agree. As your kids will be quick to tell you, the information you can find with a few keystrokes (or a well-enunciated question to Siri) would have taken years to uncover pre-Internet. More importantly, you can share your ideas and contribute to the conversation. The information flows in two directions.
3) Experience: Practice makes perfect. Online blogging and content creation offers a low-cost, low-risk way for kids to practice their writing, coding, entrepreneurial and artistic skills. From photography and video to critical thinking and writing, being online is a great way for kids to acquire new skills that will serve them well in later life.
4) Jobs: Many older kids, such as this year's Digital Family Summit speakers Tori Molnar and Jacob Resnick, have created entrepreneurial part-time jobs for themselves as bloggers, affiliates, reviewers, and even as journalists. While for many this won’t end up being their career choice, and few will make more than just pocket money from this work, it sure beats working at the local diner. (The hours are more flexible, and the pay is often better!)
These are just some of the positive outcomes that can come from being a member of a Digital Family. I look forward to hearing some of your ideas in the comments!
SPECIAL OFFER FOR BLOG READERS: Digital Family Summit is offering 30% off registrations for FOSI blog readers. Register here and use discount code FOSI-BLOG.