Kids and social media myth

Graeme Tidd.
Graeme Tidd.
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One of the biggest misconceptions I hear with some degree of regularity is that all young people are amazing with technology and, in particular, social media. Compared to what?

They may have a bunch of friends they communicate with online, but it ain’t pretty.

I’m very careful about what I post online, especially when it comes to photos. Young people: not so much. Everything gets uploaded. Ouch. Picture potential employers with heads in hands at the keyboard. The safeguarding issue alone is a can of worms waiting to writhe all over the unassuming.

If your son or daughter is online, look them up after you’ve read this. There is a good chance they have a Facebook account and that their profile is wide open for all to see. What about Twitter? Instagram? Lack of consideration or understanding of privacy settings could set them up for a fall.

A lack of understanding of social media by many employers impresses upon our youth an expectation that it is they who must take up the mantle.

But hang on – my grandparents used a Teasmade, my Mum used a typewriter and my Dad used a mobile phone (although the battery was larger than a small fridge). This, and the ‘new’ personal computer meant that my parents, then in their 30s, had a heads-up on the digital era. Me and my mates were still playing with sticks and stickers.

But my parents missed out on the video game revolution. There was no fun to be had for the old folks; computers were synonymous with work. But for the kids – it was all about play.

But wait – if the kids were so into computers how come they aren’t so great at social media?

Ask them to obliterate an army of Martians and you’ll see skills you never thought possible. Ask them to implement a marketing strategy using Facebook and they’ll look at you like you’re the alien.

There is a disconnect between using technology and using it smartly.

Communicating to friends is vastly different to communicating with everyone else. One has to consider spelling, grammar, context, appropriateness, timing and rapport. This can be taught, but most kids don’t come with those skills fresh out of the box.