Understanding the complex digital world our kids live in
Did you know 7 out of 10 students between the ages of 10 and 23 are victims of cyber-bullying?
This was one of the powerful messages Swan Hill region parents and educators received during an insightful talk by visiting digital expert and youth speaker Nathan “Dubsy” Want Tuesday night at the Grain Shed Church of Christ.
Taking an important message around the country
Dubsy is taking his Digital Avalanche tour around the nation and it’s a powerfully insightful event that every parent should go out of their way to see. Dubsy also takes his tour to schools, squeezing in visits to Swan Hill Primary School, Swan Hill College and Kerang around last night’s talk.
The hour long interactive discussion was filled with important insights to help parents and educators better understand the issues teens are wrestling with online.
“My goal is not to create fear or anxiety but to provide context and understanding” began Dubsy.
In an interesting illustration Dubsy emphasized the difference in the world we grew up in with that facing teenagers today. In the year 2000, Facebook didn’t exist, there were no mobile apps, no YouTube videos and no smartphones and yet today children aged 10-23 spend 6 hours online each day on average as part of their craving for connectivity. We could go as far as to say they are constantly exposed to an avalanche of always-on content!
Fear of missing out
This craving is driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO), the desire for self-understanding and belonging as well as the importance of cultivating an online image, something their parents are not immune to.
“There’s a lot on the line for young people today. They want to feel like they belong and that they are accepted. Being left out socially or the last to know is devastating for them” comments Dubsy.
Engagement with digital platforms is also starting at an earlier age as kids flout social media age restrictions.
“When I visit primary schools and ask ‘who is on Facebook?’ the majority indicate they are on Facebook and I only see a few hands of those who are not” Dubsy adds in bewilderment. “And yet one-third of parents have no idea what their kids are doing online!”
What parents can do
Dubsy’s tips for parents:
Be prepared and have a plan: how will you deal with a social media issue when it arises in your home?
- Remain informed about the digital evolution
- Create a circle of trusted adult friends your children can turn to for advice if they’re not comfortable to raise certain subjects with you
- Create a tech-free space in your home where you can be “present” together as a family without distractions
- Set time limits and boundaries (including not allowing devices in bedrooms)
- Leverage security apps and software
We’re hopeful Dubsy will return to Swan Hill soon but in the meantime you can keep up-to-date with his movements at www.nathanwant.com as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
Investing back into the community
Dubsy was invited to Swan Hill by Simon Warrick, senior pastor at The Grain Shed Church of Christ, as the result of a friendship dating back more than 10 years.
“As a church it’s part of our focus to find ways to serve the community. For us this was a way to use our relationships and facilities to invest back into our region”.
When he does return it’ll be one of the best time investments a parent can make by listening to Dubsy for an hour. There’s every chance your children will thank you for it one way or another.