Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Sticks and stones might break my bones... but keystrokes can sometimes kill you.

This story really freaked me out today.
I am pretty tech savy but it made me think about how my daughter, aged 2, might concievably have to deal with some things which go far further than sticks and stones in her day to day interactions with her peers and collegues in the future, and I might not have the skillset to help her cope with it.
It made me think about how much I as a parent need to keep up with what is going on in my child's life right from now, and how it is my responsibility, nay, my duty, to make sure that I not give in to technology and shrug my shoulders saying, "this is too higher-grade," the way many parents are doing today.
We are thinking seriously already about when Evangeline is going to get her first computer. At the moment it will probably just be a simple machine without any real network access, more a workstation for herself to keep her away from ours where she can do real damage by accidentally downloading HUGE files or undoing steps I spent hours on in editing photographs (both of which she has done already, did I mention she is only 2?).
Parents of teenagers who are not up to date with the technology being used everyday by their sons and daughters have a daunting task ahead of them.
An I being naieve in thinking that if I keep upo to date from now I even stand a chance of being alright by the time my child is a teenager?
An adult friend was attacked in a similar fashion to that described in the article on cyberbullying about a year ago.... He, at 38, struggled with the same issues and ended up wasting a lot of time and energy fighting an enemy he couldn't see who didn't follow the rules.
This sort of thing is going to get worse before it get's better.
There are all sorts of statistics of suicides which are related to stuff that happens online.
It really makes a mockery of the old song my Mum used to teach me to help me deal with taunts and teasing, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me."

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