Kids and Parents using Facebook Together
mother and daughter using facebook

Technology can be a confronting thing for many parents, but have you ever wondered at what age parents stop teaching their kids about technology and kids start teaching parents?

Optus recently released a Family Communication Survey which revealed that over half (55 per cent) of Australian children out-smart their parents in technology knowledge before they are 13 years old. A further 30 per cent of parents admit they are behind their children by the time they are 15 years old.

The survey further revealed that when questioned about their understanding of a range of technologies, 10-17 year olds already know more or about the same as their parents on topics of bluetooth, blogging, cloud computing, mobile phone applications, Twitter, visual voicemail, social networking and MMS. And it's not just their knowledge that out-ranks the adults. Children's actual usage of these technologies is greater than their parents.

Mia Freedman, author, journalist and mother of three - including one highly tech-savvy 11 year old believes that "keeping up with the constantly changing pace of technology is a challenge even for someone who works in the communication and media industry. If you have a school-age child you'd know first- hand it is almost impossible to keep up with all the new trends.

You get used to your kids rolling their eyes at you a lot. Sometimes it's my son teaching me stuff and other times, I have to teach him. As a parent, I think it's important to maintain a balance between allowing children access to the internet and mobile phones while maintaining a controlled environment," Ms Freedman said.

So how can parents take the technology journey with their kids rather than being left behind?

In a recent appearance on the 9am show with David and Kim Show, Mia suggested that parents should embrace their child's desire to delve into the world technology, particularly social networking such as Facebook. She further discusses the process she went through to set-up her 11-year old son's Facebook profile. Some suggestions for parents include:

  • Move through the steps and processes for setting up a Facebook profile with your child. If you are unsure of how Facebook works, pay a visit to the homepage and have a read through the ‘how to' section as this will often show you all the basics
  • Ensure they understand that you will be able to log-in to their profile at any time and that all passwords will be set-up by you
  • Check their privacy and security settings to ensure the have the right level of privacy in place
  • Continually keep an eye on their list of friends to ensure there are no inappropriate people listed
  • Set up the computer in a communal area so you can always keep an eye on what your child is viewing online


The growing importance of technology for families is underlined by the significant growth in broadband internet usage. The Optus survey revealed for more than half of Australian parents the family's Internet usage has more than tripled in the last five years, and for a further 23 per cent it has doubled. It went on to reveal that mobile phone usage has also at least tripled for nearly half (44 per cent) of parents.

Given the increased usage of technology by Australian families, Optus has introduced new Family Value Packs which allows families to customise their home phone, broadband and mobile plans to suit their individual needs.

There is also a free Savings Calculator - www.optus.com.au/gurus which will allow you to check and see if you might be able to save money for your family's communication needs.

 
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