Dear parents of the Facebook Generation, it’s time to step it up. | ZDNet

31 May

I hope that program directors and parent involved in local PTA groups will consider the article that i am talking about – even starting with our toddler-aged school groups.  It is helpful to understand things from the very beginning as our children are learning language.  In my mind, there is a new form of literacy that children need to learn in order to function in a changing world that uses computer technology. There are also new rules in the area of pragmatics which is how we use language.  We may make a statement, request something, label an object, an action or  ask a question.  These are all ways of using language.  As parents, you have a responsibility to teach your children how to communicate using technology.  and also how to keep safe in its presence. So, with that introduction:

Dear parents of the Facebook Generation, it’s time to step it up. | ZDNet

via Dear parents of the Facebook Generation, it’s time to step it up. | ZDNet.

Take a look at this article and think…..it used to be easy…your parents may have told you to – put on your bike helmet, fasten a seatbelt, look both ways before crossing  the street (and if you were my father you would have gone as far as to say that you should not even consider crossing the street until EVERY car has stopped at the light), clean up your room, don’t chew with your mouth open…basic rules of social behavior and safety, survival on the street quite literally.

Now we are in a world of having to create rules about a “box” aka the computer that i, probably like you, use every day. As a friend of mine once put it, “everything is out there”, referring to the use of facebook.  “That’s why I don’t like to use it”.  Well – p.s., a few weeks later I checked my news feed and saw that this same friend had made “friends” with someone on Facebook. I suppose that she could no longer avoid this venue anymore.  If you are having trouble following this then you need to start exploring social media…better yet, ask anyone of approximately ten years or older to explain it to you.

Don’t worry, everything will be illuminated!!.  The computer on venues like facebook, twitter and other social sites have a set of rules for communication.  It is something that can be learned.  After taking a course in the use of social media and marketing, I am wondering if this now has to be a new area of function that speech-language pathologists like myself will have to evaluate. I predict that one day there will be an assessment tool to evaluate social communication skills using computer technology.

In order to be a “teacher” of the use of computer technology, you need to start with the basics.  Thankfully, I just found these resources and offer them to you, in case they may be of help.

chat room slang dictionary:   www.pulpchat.com/faq215.php

Instant Messaging Reference Dictionary:  www.dictionary.reference.com/browse/instant+messaging

Authors of language development texts like Lois Bloom and Margeret Lahey Language Development and Language Disorders, John Wiley & Sons Inc copyright 1978 discuss areas of “content” – what we are saying, “form” which refers to the “means for connecting the words” and “use” which is how we use language to communicate.  These authors wrote this text way before the development of computer technology.  When you think about it, the same parameters of language are developing but their “use” – in terms of venue is changing.  It is important, in my opinion, for all parents to understand the language that our children are using in the world of technology and then guide them in how to use this as as a functional tool.  Children need to learn how to be safe in the presence of the computer.   All language learning develops in a sequential order. First you understand and then you develop the ability to express it.  So, I offer parents reading this blog the task of defining what pieces of technology you are using.  I challenge you to REALLY  understand how to use it through practicing-not just for work purposes, but for casual communication too.  Then, your biggest assignment is to teach your children how to be responsible technology communicators…and keep themselves safe in the process.

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