Many schools now require a tablet as a part of their standard stationary list as children are learning to engage with a wide variety of digital tools to prepare them for a life of ever changing digital technology. Allowing all children the opportunity to explore these devices - to learn their 'intuitive logic' - provides them with the skills and confidence to explore not only the devices they have but to explore new forms of digital technology as they emerge. I would suggest that if children do not have this access, they may be at a significant disadvantage in the future. Finding ways to improve access to these kinds of technologies and the education to effectively utilise the devices is an important step in reducing the digital divide. While the cost of this technology is still prohibitive for some families, I feel there is an greater threat for families - and that is the lack of information caregivers have to monitor and regulate the information their children access and divulge.
Social media has become a ubiquitous part of the lives of young people. It is in this forum they will share their dreams, fears, anxieties, frustrations and photos. They may support their friends through facebook 'likes' and tweet shares and bully (or be bullied by) their enemies through venomous posts and uploading unwanted pictures. They may 'meet' strangers who have an unhealthy interest in young people and meet scammers looking for ways to make money. They may use the internet to find solutions to homework, to learn about their favorite animal or how to become an astronaut, or they may stumble across online gambling, pornography or a grooming sexual predator who is asking for photo uploads, or worse still, to meet in person. This new technology opens up the world to our children, for good and for bad, and the consequences are profound.