Tag Archives: Sydney Morning Herald

Should Kids Have A Licence To Use A Smart Phone?

Should Kids Have A Licence To Use A Smart Phone?



This article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald was pointed out to me by the very sensible switched on Debbie Carr, she wanted my take on it so here it is…and I’m probably going to sound like a broken record here…

Warning a bit Ranty!

A licence for kids to be able to use Smart phones??? My first thought was that Licences haven’t had much success in preventing stupid behaviour in any of us. I think Dr Carr-Gregg obviously wants to see some sort of standard of proof that kids know enough about cyber safety on a smart phone to at least keep out of trouble if they wanted to.

As the below cartoon says better than I can articulate, the BIGGEST problem kids have today on smart phones or computers is their parents ignorance of what they are up to online, and how these new fangled things work!

As a previous post of mine pointed out, and it still hasn’t changed, there seems to be some real confusion about who’s responsibility it is for our children’s safety online? Parents overwhelmingly want schools to take responsibility for teaching their kids, presumably because they either 1. Can’t be bothered 2. Find it all too hard 3. It’s beyond them. Teachers want parents to take the majority of the responsibility, after all they are the ones supposedly supervising their children when the kids are getting up to mischief online, usually at home or at a friends house or in the case of 3G smart phones to and from school.

My frustration as a Cyber Safety speaker is that most parents aren’t even trying to learn this stuff! Even when most of the danger occurs in the family home NOT at school where there are usually firewalls up to prevent gaming and social media. When your kids are home and online that is when you NEED to know what is going on, and how to fix things when they are broken. Parents need to know where parental controls are on Smart phones, and how to ensure they are used safely. Why are parents even buying smart phones for their kids? There are still plenty of Dumb phones around where your kids can call home, far less of a problem.

Why put the onus on the kids to get a licence when the Parents can’t even be bothered to learn how to supervise and teach their own kids?

I often use an analogy when talking to the parents who do come to my talks, about swimming lessons. OK so not all parents can swim, you might even hire a swim teacher, but would you feel capable of supervising your own vulnerable kids at a pool or the beach when they were learning to swim if you couldn’t swim? You need to know how to save them, or get someone else in to watch them who does…

The solution is for parents and teachers, to arrange cyber safety education talks at school for parents to attend, and make is compulsory! Because otherwise the parents won’t show up…the last Govt sponsored Free admittance ACMA talk I attended at a local High school had only 14 adults attending, and 2 pairs were spouses, out of a school of 800 kids….And this is a recurring percentage I see and hear about all over, and I think I can safely assume it’s not because all the parents are already up to date with all the latest tech. For kids and for teachers it’s compulsory .

Don’t put the full responsibility and blame on the kids. Kids will always be kids and will either play by the rules or try to get round them, parents they are playing on your ignorance. Get with the program, and don’t leave it up to anyone else to supervise and teach your kids about online safety! Oh and sticking your head in the sand will only work if your kids have there’s in the sand also…

A licence isn’t going to stop your child from driving a car unsafely or surfing the net unsafely if they don’t have a parent interested and educated enough to supervise them when they are on their learners permits!

From The Sydney Morning Herald


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