Why everything you think you know about internet safety is wrong

Digital technology has changed everything in our lives, including parenting. A whole new set of risks faces our children, from cyberbullying to pornography, sexting to self-harm. It’s not that young people have changed, particularly; but the internet amplifies many of the risks they face already and provide new, scary forms for their expression.

The result is that parents – and teachers – can feel that children’s lives are being conducted out of reach of supervision, in a frightening new context. The main response up until now has been to focus on filters, parental controls and on monitoring what young people are doing online. We have probably all seen instructions to ‘keep the computer in the living room’ so you can see what your children are up to.

This sort of advice continues to be trotted out even by organisations with some expertise in internet safety, which really should know better. In a mobile age, it is useless at best. Even a child who doesn’t have his own smart phone is only a couple of clicks away from seeing something you’d rather he didn’t on a friend’s device in the playground.

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Stand out by seeking out

Globalisation has increased competition in all sectors of society today, this includes education. The implication of this is that grades are not the sole stand out factor for university, or job applications anymore. Institutions are looking for much more in their ideal candidate.

Work experience is beneficial and necessary as a much needed reality check and learning curve for every individual. It allows one to gain first hand experience of their desired profession and provides good quality insight into whether or not it is the correct path for them to pursue. Taking myself as an example, in year 10 I was 110% sure I wanted to be a paediatrician because I wanted to save children. Though after shadowing the work of some of the best paediatrics at Great Ormond Street I realised I probably didn’t have the stomach for such a task (I fainted after seeing an open wound). Amusement aside, I learned that I had perhaps bitten off more than I could chew, but I knew that my goal to help people was a solid aim I could build upon.

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