By Dr. Jo Webber
Children are still often times the most tech savvy in the house. Mobile Internet, for example, is a swiftly evolving technology and its fastest adopters are children. In fact, in a recent survey by Piper Jaffrey we learn that the no one uses the mobile Internet more than the under 18 year old. Almost 80% of both male and female teenagers are shopping online and 50% say that social media directly influences their purchases with Facebook currently being the most important, followed closely by Twitter and Instagram.
The US government recognizes how the Internet has become a part of children’s lives and since April of 2000 COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection) law has tried to make sure that under 13’s are protected online. As of July 1st this law will be updated to keep up with technology and the way that children are using it.
This summer as we head off for barbecues and picnics don’t be too surprised or disappointed if your teen or tween is engrossed in their mobile device. While it’s worthwhile pulling them into what we consider the real world – it’s important to recognize that the mobile environment with its rich content, games, social networking and shopping possibilities is part of ‘their real world’. Much like we work to teach them how to be safe in the physical world, it is important to also teach them safety in the digital world.•
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