There is a perceived culture of fear when it comes to parents letting their precious offspring bounce around the Wild West of the internet and our Tomorrow's World of technology. But in the few short months since parents' Q&A community Quib.ly launched, we've found that the reality is very different. Yes, parents are cautious, but way more often they're wide-eyed excited at the possibilities open to their kids. These are the five questions parents have given the biggest damns about so far (not a parental control in sight...)
Yeah, that's right. Not how can I teach my kids the dangers of the web, or how to be careful with computers, but how can we get our kids experimenting, designing and making their own gadgets. Pretty cool.
"We ordered a Little Bits starter kit, and it's brilliant - it's the electronics equivalent of LEGO." - Tech-loving parent blogger
"If you want to teach kids the basics of electronics (and maybe learn them yourself while you are at it) then Arduino microcontroller kits are a brilliant modern take on the idea." - Freelance writer and IT nerd.
All those scare stories about kids remortgaging the house to buy crystals and overdrafts being eaten by goblins? Our parents are having none of it. They blame sharky developers manipulating children's emotions, they're not keen on free apps charging for up-sells within games, but - frankly - they say the responsibility lies squarely with themselves.
"I must say it irritates me to see stories of 'woe is us, my kid spent £12,000 on in-app purchases. First off I wish my credit so so good that £12,000 was even available on my card, but we'll ignore that for a moment. We have two iPads, both are set to require the password for EVERY purchase no matter how recently it was entered." - Father of three and web developer
"The story about the kid's enormous bill really bugs me. I mean, hello? Parental responsibility? Weren't they keeping an eye on his play and how long he was on there? Hadn't they spoken to him about the rules of playing on the iPad?" - Mum of two
Not - mark you - how can we keep them off it. It's not suitable for under-13s, under-13s aren't allowed to use it... but millions of them do. So chucking away the black and white and wading into the grey, our parents want to know how to find a middle ground and use common sense to keep everyone happy.
"The short answer is: 'stop them from using Facebook'. Done. Oh, okay, not only is this unfair, however, it is also completely unrealistic.
"The longer and more complicated answer is to combine the practical steps of making Facebook safer, with a home environment that fosters honest communication about the dangers and advantages of the online world." - Safeguarding in education officer
Spoiler alert: yes.
"I do think social media should be taught in schools, but more on reputation management than new happenings in social media. I don't think there is enough education out there on the what not to dos of building an online presence." - Mom who loves tech
"We are raising the first Social Media Generation - there is a lot of emphasis on safety and dangers, but we also need to talk about the opportunities that come with being connected."- Social media trainer
"I think it should definitely be taught in school.It can be used productively and safely if schools are willing to embrace it.
"I teach my students how to use Facebook privacy settings and encourage teachers to create Facebook groups for school." Head of ICT
Parents are alarmed by the darker sides of the web, without being alarmist. And an overarching theme to a lot of their discussions is encouraging kids to explore, take (calculated risks) and have fun.
"Life is short and my son grows and changes so quickly, I look back and see missed opportunities and blame work, paying bills, being 'grown up'... He has helped me realise that all those things are...overrated. And we go camping, walk up mountains, pretend to be in stories we make up when we can. I don't know if we've got the balance right. You can only do your best, and re-evaluate, change, not be slow to grasp the odd opportunity." - School teacher and dad
Quib.ly is a Q&A community for parents and experts to talk about raising happy, healthy kids in a connected world. As many fathers as mothers use the site, and professionals from all fields related to families and technology are welcome.Suggest a correction