Scott Steinberg: Parents Need to Take Lead on Technology Use

Today's kids interact with technology every day. From social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to gadgets like the iPad and cell phones, tech plays an ever increasing role in their lives. That is why it is vital that parents and other adults in position of authority need to educate themselves and then teach their kids how to interact with it safely and intelligently.

It is hard to turn on the news nowadays without seeing a story about cyberbullying or "sexting." According to in his editorial for CNN, Scott Steinberg, the author of "The Modern Parent's Guide" series, 70% of parents and 80% of teachers believe that schools should be taking a bigger role in training students to be safe online. However, the danger doesn't end at the schoolhouse door, so if parents want their kids to be safe, they need to do their part too.

"For parents trying to raise kids and give them the technology to be successful, yet also protect them, there's a sense that no one's there to tell folks what steps to take," said Marian Merritt, Internet safety advocate at Norton. "I hope schools are distributing information and educating (families), but ultimately, parents have a huge role to play (in the process)."

Today's frenzied pace of technological evolution, parents, who are slower on the uptake, are not only continually behind the curve, they are also forced to play catch-up to their kids. Judi Warren, the president of Web Wise Kids, believes that this means that parents aren't position to provide the supervision and control over their kids' online activities to make sure that their kids are safe. Although the parents shouldn't be solely responsible for protecting their children, they should be involved in the effort, along with teachers and school administrators.

But laying the responsibility for teaching digital citizenship solely at families' feet would be a mistake, Warren said. "It also has to be a part of ongoing education," she added, noting that kids as young as 2 now commonly use smartphones and other technological devices.

03 26, 2012
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