Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Oct. 31, 2013

What Do Technology and Halloween Have In Common?

Project Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

The answer is “a lot” but bonus points for creativity if you read that and said “mice”. Technology and Halloween have a lot in common. Or certainly a lot more in common than you might think.

Tonight, kids will hit neighborhoods in dressed-up droves dawning costumes they spent weeks dreaming-up. Some will look scary, some will look sweet, and others will be dressed as something in between. They’ll parade and prance door-to-door, playing tricks or getting treats.

I know. While poetic, nothing about that sounds like it has anything to do with technology. But I assure you, it fits.

Online, kids have the ability to choose the façade they put on too.

Young people can create a range of personas and choose to have interactions that are scary, sweet, or anything in between. And, research shows that some kids out there are making sweet choices. Did you know that 84% of social media using teens have seen others defend someone being harassed online?

Of course, a little parental involvement and influence can’t hurt statistics like that either. Having a conversation about the difference between acting like a superhero and behaving like a goblin is an easy place to start.

When using technology, kids also get to choose between tricks and treats.

It’s true, tricky situations happen online – gossip, over-sharing, fraud etc. However, young people can and do learn to avoid them. (In fact, we have some research coming out next week that shows what steps young people are taking to protect their identity online.) They can also be the ones who choose whether or not to create or make-worse an already tricky situation. How they interact and respond is a choice.

Technology and Halloween have choices in common. If you prefer candy corn and chocolates to eggs and toilet paper, you’re in for a tasty treat. However, if you prefer the latter, you could have some embarrassing explaining and cleaning up to do if you get caught.

Sweets and superhero suits are choices. Let’s encourage kids to make those ones. And, if stuff does turn scary, let’s be there to talk, listen, and course-correct.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr