As we cruise around the globe, it is hard not to notice that the power of social media is all encompassing. It fits like a glove and allows freedoms and finger tip access to our family and long lost friends and fiends from our past. My mum and dad can ‘sit’ on our dining room table like a jar of talking heads, peering out from my laptop, whilst they sit at their computer in Tasmania.
My parents are truly amazed. And I am too. The technology we have at the moment is awe-inspiringly impressive. But what if all this power were handed to a nine year old child? How would they use it? Well, for the uninitiated, the underground network of nine year old kids using social media is very much alive and it’s thriving in the UK and, I expect, across the globe.
The thing is – it’s all about perspective.
My folks don’t really understand social media too much. They don’t understand why anyone would post daily comments or thoughts online. They are blissfully unaware and ignorant and actually feel sorry for us for wasting another beautiful day that they cherish so much.
For Gen Xers (Generation X) – my generation — social media has been an amazing experience. Whether locating long lost pals across the globe or building huge circles of friends as we experience life in London and beyond, and then sharing everything with everybody like info addicted freaks: posting, tweeting, liking, sharing – it’s been a beautiful thing and I love it!
However there is a dark side. For then we have the rugrats of today and a nasty shadow that is starting to permeate our lives. I have witnessed firsthand the sledging, bullying, account hacking, stalking that is infesting social media from the bedrooms of little doe eyed children who, through lack of any life experience, are totally out of control. Imagine, if you can, the damage you could have inflicted when you had just come home from a bad day at school. With the flick of your finger, you could insult your whole class, or your teacher…and basically start an adolescent riot!
It’s happening all too frequently in all our schools . Teachers are so far behind the curve that the kids are in control of ‘after school chat forums’ – a place where teachers fear to tread. It’s an underground movement of nine year olds and the schools don’t know what to do. The kids are easily fed on propaganda that is shared so fast it becomes life changing and they are rapidly creating cyber profiles that will be forever tattooed to their existence.
So what is the solution? Ensure your kids are not using it yet? Mine are forbidden. Do you educate them in the age old adages that the pen is mightier than the sword and that a shared thought or action can never be taken back? Education is surely the key but the schools are totally lost.
The irony in it all, is that to be able to see into this scary new world, you have to be their friends. This is of course a luxury that they allow, and you can be blocked on mass at the swipe of the middle finger.
So I watch. And refrain from commenting. For to comment would wake the rugrat underground and with a deafening roar, I would be suddenly cast out and blinded forever. So as you cast your eyes across the carpark today, to the kids all texting as they leave school, don’t be afraid – it’s not them we should be worrying about. It’s the three year old sitting in the back of their mum’s car playing with the iPad. That is who will have the ultimate power!
I continue to love this new cyber world but be careful out there, they are watching…
What problems have you encountered in the social media realm? Tell us below: