Social Networks for Kids.. It will happen with or without us.
Virtual Handhold, LLC -  Human/Computer Interface Psychology
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Social Networks for Kids.. It will happen with or without us.

I have squirmed and delayed writing this post, because I have little to offer, except what I have observed.

Most adults are dealing with online  as "Not Real". Since most parents don't understand or GET Facebook, Twitter, or even instant messaging apps, it is far easier to dismiss it as invalid than having to actually figure out what is happening.

I tried to approach this dilemma in my local library by putting an announcement for a presentation. "Virtual is NOT Going Away" . I wished to express that our kids are getting their validation no longer from parents, teachers, clergy and traditional channels. We are being usurped in the same way as the Egypt's government...information from sources that we have no control over. 

I wanted the adults who claim to have the interests of their children at their heart,  to know that putting a cell phone in their kid's hands, and giving computers and unlimited internet access, also requires teaching them the psychology to deal with it.  We wouldn't throw them in the pool without trying to teach them to swim? But no one seems to be doing that? ...mostly because no one knows.

I did a Google search for "kid's virtual worlds" and the first thing that came up was IMVU.  I am in IMVU and it is there that I am approached by avatars claiming to be 19 with questions about adult topics only later to find out they were 12. I give the facts and the psychology that I have learned and teach in the Virgin's Handbook on Virtual Relationships about the different methods of online perceptional engagements. (Disassociative, Immersive, Augmentative).

We are way behind what seems to be an inherent understanding of technological communication from our children who play complex MMOs like we did checkers. Our ONLY hope is to give them the tools to at least express their difficulties.

I was particularly reminded about the need to teach our children these things by an article in The Economist (June 9-15th 2012) called "Let the nippers network". It was talking about officially allowing under 13 year olds to Facebook with restrictions.

This older generation is not going to out smart the kids when it comes to technology! They WILL find ways around restrictions, but with the whole world instantly opened to them without the tools to deal with their emotions and engagement, it can lead to disaster!  Cyber bullying and suicide from the disconnect these sometimes damaging and confusing online engagements can give is only going to get worse if we do nothing.  

BTW- No one showed for the presentation... surprise, surprise.

8 Comments to Social Networks for Kids.. It will happen with or without us.:

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Moonlit Destiny on Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:12 PM
Nice to hear from you again Pamala!! I hope to see you in SL soon. I am working on a pilot study again. In my research I have found that there are a number of really good VWs out there, but parents need to be cautious of everything children are doing online! Club Penguin is one of the best virtual worlds out there for young children, but it is difficult to find good sites for 12 - 15 year olds.
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Pamala Clift on Saturday, July 14, 2012 6:11 AM
I do agreed that Club Penguin is the most positive child world I have been in. It is because this is such a good place, that it sets expectations for kids. They now trust the environment, which set them up as perfect targets of naivety when they move on to older cultures. They still have to be taught what to expect and their feelings during emotional teenage years. Hugs
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Gaven Bobby on Monday, November 05, 2012 1:03 AM
That was a great post about social network shared it is !! Social networking for kids is the most important nowadays so above description is really cooperative for me. Thanks :)
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Afton Saraph on Sunday, November 11, 2012 2:46 AM
I support the thought of restriction because it's essential to stay away our kids from any kind of disaster. As young are not informed about the difficulties of social media so we have to make them aware of it properly. Thanks for your concern and the cooperation.
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Pamala Clift on Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:34 AM
Thank you so much for your comment. The major hurdle for implementing restriction, is they (the kids) are MORE technologically savvy then their parents. They look on restrictions as an invitation to explore. Children to not like restrictions any more than we do, but they have far more leisure time to work at breaking down the door. Reminds me of when I was raising goats. They don't necessarily want to be outside of the pen, they just want to know they can get out. So they would rub up against the fence day by day until a break would occur... they would walk out and munch a few flowers and then return. The consequences of their exposure will never return their innocence. So if we are faced with absolutely no other hope but helping with their understanding of the realities.. then it is our responsibility to do so.

Rachel Cobber on Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:43 PM
Worthy say Pamala! Giving all of the technological support to the kids is not a bad thing if we can guide them about proper use of it so few more psychological sessions for handling the technology and its modern versions as; twitter, facebook and other media is very important. Thanks Pamala for a brilliant effort. It'll make the parents conscious as well as the kids, too.
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Grant Malachi on Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:24 AM
Outstanding content! Social media is definitely playing a bigger role in today's marketing efforts. I'm impressed to read your content about Social Networks for Kids. Thanks for this allocation. Carry on.
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