Parents, researchers and educators have
long been concerned about the negative impact on kids of the constant
access to mobile devices and the Internet. Whether itís distracted
driving, cyberbullying, or just the ability to circumvent parental
controls, the use of smartphones and other connected devices is
presenting a fresh set of problems at home and in the classroom.
even the government is starting to take notice. Yesterday, the Federal
Communications Commission held a forum at McKinley Technology High
School in Washington D.C. to address the risks associated with heavy
technology use among young people. As well as FCC officials and an army
of guest panelists, the forum was attended by over 700 parents,
educators, and students.
The event included a special Skype
appearance by Glee star Jane Lynch, who is a member of the LG Text Ed
council. LG Text Ed is an educational campaign for parents that
addresses teen mobile phone misuse, and provides resources so they can
teach responsible phone use to their children. Ms Lynch has appeared in a
number of entertaining videos for the program (including the one
above), which provide a humorous context for a very serious message.
the large contingent of online safety experts and industry
representatives, it was the students themselves who provided some of the
most telling insights. Clearly most teens understand that their parents
want to keep them safe, but they also feel that there is a fine line
between keeping an eye on them and snooping. Some of the monitoring
technology that was discussed at the forum would be more appropriate for
the CIA than for parents of most well-adjusted kids.
It was also
clear just how much teens and even younger kids depend on cell phones
and the Internet for maintaining and nurturing their multi-faceted
relationships. To them, sending or receiving hundreds of texts a day is
neither unusual or something that adults should be concerned about; itís
just how teens communicate.
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