Socialising in Cyberspace

Many agree that the Internet is a wonderful resource. Young people today, are comfortable using social-networking sites and communicating with one another through an electronic environment. For some it is an easier way to communiate with others rather than f2f. However, like anything there are risks involved in online communication.

The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) released a report last December (2007) that contained the results of a national survey designed to identify the electronic media and communications devices in family homes, the ways children used these and the time they spent using them, and parental attitudes and responses to that use. As the ACMA report noted “The findings … provide a snapshot of a quickly evolving environment”. The survey highlighted a rise in the popularity of social-networking sites among those aged 8 to 17 years old. In Australia, the most popular social-networking sites are MySpace and Facebook.

For an adult with children, many questions arise because of technology and access to the Internet. Some are comfortable with their children having open access to sites and are happy for them to engage in using and communicating through a social-networking environment. Others are not. Some adults are not familiar nor up-to-date with the various sites and applications that children today enjoy engaging with. This in its own way causes adults to feel uncomfortable and wary of what they are doing. One mother has admitted her concerns: “I worry about whether the boys are spending too much time online and neglecting their schoolwork, plus the sort of people they might be meeting, and whether they might be exposed to – or even looking for – inappropriate material”.

Reflection

What are your concerns (or comments) about children using the Internet and social-networking sites to communicate?

Reference

Ladd, K. (August 2008). Socialising in Cyberspace. Sydney’s Child, pp.45-48. Available at: www.sydneyschild.com.au