Saturday, April 20 2024

Although it may not seem so at first glance, the history of the automobile
bears a great resemblance to the appearance of the first mobile phones and
the Internet. At the beginning of the last century, the first motor
vehicles appeared on the roads of the Western world. However, there were no
road signs that organized the existing traffic. No signs were put until the
first accidents happened so that people became aware of the need for
traffic regulations.

The same can be said for the Internet, mobile phones, WhatsApp, etc. There
are a lot of “things” in circulation that still need to be put in order. In other words, we need to establish a code of
ethics for their use.

The “accidents” we are facing in the digital world are many, but I would
like to highlight two of them reported recently: one is given by the
magazine HacerFamilia: “15% of students admit to using their
mobile phones in class”. The other is published by the newspaper La Vanguardia, and refers to the urgent need – according to the
Spanish newspaper – to create a program to help teenagers to detect hoaxes,
as a way to counter the rise of so-called fake news.

According to the study quoted by HacerFamilia, “almost 15% of
students admit to using a mobile phone in class”. That figure should make
us to think a little: It means that many parents are just “helicopter
parents” and do not pay attention to the fact that they are somehow
“oppressing” their children when giving them a mobile phone at an early
age. The new generations of children, wrongly called digital natives, show
a certain immaturity of their personality for they do not know how
to use these devices properly. A guiding parenting is often missing,

A pupil who is hooked with his or her mobile phone during school hours is
an easy target for fake news, as any hoax runs like wildfire among young
people. As the cell phones are banned at school, the young people read the
information they receive quickly and without paying much attention to
whether it is true or not, and feeling the pressing need to react, the do
without thinking.

For this reason, the project (In)fórmate seems very interesting!
It is a project presented by the FAD (Federation of Aid against Drug
Addiction) and Google that aims to train 30,000 teenagers (between 14 and
16 years old) so that they can discern the truth from the fake news and
thus encourage critical thinking.

If we educate our young people in the truth, over time they will become
leading adults. They will not rush to believe whatever they read, or the
last news they are told. They will not rush to forward news without
first having checked it.

To this end, we have two lines of action. The first one is to be found in
the family. We cannot be surprised if children use their mobile phones
secretly at school, when there are no rules or standards of use as far as
new technologies are concerned in the family. When parents do not give an
example, then children follow their rule.

The second place to take action in is the school. Educational resources for
the family are beginning to appear more and more, for example this

web page

from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which offers tips for parents in
the digital age, or the Spanish platform for digital education Empantallados, which suggests, among other things, creating a
“mobile phone park” at the entrance of the house to avoid their use at
family meetings or bedtime, or the Colombian La Familia.info. And,
of course, Familyandmedia, the portal that hosts this article of
mine for the first time.

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