Teenagers do not need our help online – we need them to help us oldies

Teenagers have been warned by men in grey suits to be careful online. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, teenagers stand a chance of ruining their future careers if they are not careful when using social networking sites.

Oh dear – here we go again – another set of adults trying to tell children what to do. Gosh isn’t it dreadful, those social networking thingies and how you can reveal all sorts of details about yourself? Well guess what – that’s what teenagers do.

Revealing your personality and your intimate details are part of growing up. We all do it – it helps establish our identity. It is a necessary part of becoming an adult. The trouble is that lots of adults in high places seem to forget that they were kids once.

The people who reveal too much online are adults – not teenagers. I’ve worked with several groups of teenagers and I’ve been amazed at how aware they are for the potential for fraud or identity theft. The people revealing potentially dangerous details are not the teenagers, but the grown ups – including people who should know better like those who work for HM Revenue and Customs….!

And besides, there is a huge danger for today’s children if they DO NOT take part in social networking online. Clearly, their working future is going to rely heavily on online social networks. If they don’t engage in them now, they will be less of an employment prospect in the future.

So far from finger wagging at today’s children, the authority figures should be encouraging them to take part in a host of online activities. Perhaps the people advising today’s teenagers need some lessons themselves in social networking – from those very teenagers. After all, most adults need lessons from children in how to work the video. It’s about time we trusted children online – they know more about it than us.

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