My dad taught me to drive in a big gold chevy station wagon. I sat in the front seat as he pointed out all the controls. Then, we turned on the engine and drove up and down the parking lot. Since the station wagon, I have owned a Toyota, Honda and Volvo. Once I learned to drive one car, I could drive them all. All cars are essentially the same – steering wheel in front and the brake and gas pedal on the floor.
Teaching my kids to drive the internet, not so easy. Websites and apps all have different controls. It is like teaching someone to drive when every car has the steering wheel in a different place. Facebook has multiple steering wheels scattered throughout the car. Twitter does not call its steering wheel a steering wheel. And, many apps have no steering wheel at all.
Where each car on the internet highway is different and constantly changing, it is important that parents have current information and tutorials. And unlike drivers ed, most schools do not offer a digital citizenship class. Fortunately, some great organizations are working hard to make sure parents have the skills to teach kids to drive the internet. Check out my Privacy Tools page for some of these resources and I have included a few of my favorites below.
- Commonsense Media – Commonsense Media provides curriculum for teaching digital citizenship as well as comprehensive reviews of apps and websites
- Yoursphere for Parents – Mary Kay Hoal’s blog has detailed information on how to set privacy settings for popular websites and apps
- Girl Scouts – Fun videos and games to teach kids about living life online
- Kids Safety and Responsibility – Lynette T. Owens blogs for Trend Micro and has tips on privacy & safety tips and information for hosting an internet safety night