Last week I went into my son's Year Two class as a voluntary helper. The teacher dispatched me to the computer room, to help a group of children design posters. Though really, the children ended up teaching me more than I could tell them. These days children use computers from the pre-school stage, so it's not surprising that by the age of six they have tech skills that their parents probably only encountered at university level.
I felt quite inept with this bunch of six-year-olds, who could handle a computer confidently. But if, like me, you're a techno dunce who feels that your children know more about computers than you do, help is at hand
Speaking last week at the launch of the Vodafone Parents' Guide at the House of Commons, actress and author Meera Syal MBE commented that "There's nothing so ageing as being a techno idiot". Syal is mum to both a three year old and a seventeen year old, and confessed that both leave her behind in the computer stakes. But she's determined to change that, and calls on other mums to do the same.
The aim of the guide is to help parents play a more active role in their children's digital world and to get to grips with their use of mobiles, Twitter and other online social media
Annie Mullins OBE, Global Head of Content Standards at Vodafone, who led the development of the website, says: "Many parents tell us that they are baffled by what their children are doing, be it on their on their mobile, on Facebook or via their iphones. They say it's hard to keep up with the pace of change. Their desire is to get simple, clear information on everyday matters, such as knowing what age a child should be given a mobile or setting the rules for using Facebook, and very practical advice about what to do."
The Vodafone Parents' Guide has been developed with the aid of the massed mummies of Mumsnet. Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet, said: "With technology developing at such an incredible pace, it's great that Vodafone has produced an online resource to help us understand it. The feedback from the parents on Mumsnet was very positive and many felt they learned a huge amount while they were testing the site." And included in those Mumsnetters who've been testing the site is Syal, who says she learned a lot, and is determined to be a techno idiot no more.