Stephanie Jimenez: “It makes no sense to force young people to swim upstream”

Who dominates over networks, children and adolescents or adults?

In general, it is fairly widely believed that the younger ones, to the extent that they are why we have sold as “digital natives”, they feel better Internet in general and in particular networks. The paradigm of digital natives is difficult to prove and I believe has more to do with a comfortable and too often disseminated by the media idea with the reality of the skills that children and adolescents develop networks. The broads and, especially in certain age groups, widely used by social networks and communication technologies. But mostly, technical level and not make use of them than equivalent to that may or they do adults.

EducationWe know adults guide children in using these technologies?

From our point of view, it is important to see both the kids as their own parents, and also the set of “tribe”, adults they may be related. The minors are introduced today in the autonomous use of technology at a younger age, which allows the adult guidance is so, and that is an advantage compared to several years ago when entering the online world coincided with adolescence, which by definition is a more complicated stage of development. About orientation, adults should have clear certain basic ideas: the immediacy in communication and preventions to be taken against it, the dangers of anonymity, the resources to manage conflicts, the importance of individual responsibility to the time consuming, create and share content and engage them to the minors. Needless to absolutely control all networks, gadgets and developments in the technology market, but use common sense and empathy.

Is it a right attitude to prohibit or restrict the use of networks?

It is always appropriate to work for responsible consumption. It makes little sense to force adolescents to swim upstream. In schools it is noted that in recent years more and fear of boys and girls is more present to stay out of the rhythms related to moving. Furthermore, the evidence tells us that the more familiar are the boys and girls with better online navigation know how to deal with the risks that this can entail. The limits in this respect, in any case, have to decide in each family.

What guidelines recommend to parents and teachers for healthy living of children in the digital world?

Maybe everything can be summarized in remembering that the digital world is also part of the “real” world and therefore the online behavior should be guided by similar rules : responsibility, empathy , respect … With the perception of “excessive” use, can be a good idea to always keep in mind that we must not confuse the tool to: if digital resources not respond to an objective and just take up time you can not spend on other activities (OTL, homework, hobbies and sports …), you definitely have to think about the importance that has been given to the mobile or tablet and the weight it has in the life of that person . And from the understanding, it is also convenient help to relativize the perception that something is happening at all times and therefore we must be in permanent connection.

WhatsApp is one of the favorite applications of adolescents. Is it a good communication tool for them?

In the same extent that it can be for the rest of the population, but considering the importance for adolescents their peer group and the ability to connect and feel part of a group. Beyond its value for the transmission and reception of really informative content, WhatsApp serves to maintain contact and strengthen ties among adolescents.

What arouses suspicion in adults using this application?

All technologies are often met with skepticism in the beginning. In the case of WhatsApp, the ability to stop at any time generates suspicions. Evidence that the network launched very easily thanks to WhatsApp content (and in the case of videos and photos, thanks to the popularization of the smartphone) no longer controllable and objective of the insignificance of messages exchanged also generates suspicions.

Some teachers already have dared to integrate WhatsApp, among other applications, in class. What didactic use believes it can give you?

There is some uncertainty regarding the relationship between such resources and learning. In general I have the feeling that the teacher who dares to introduce alternative tools, platforms, online resources, tablets or other innovations that character does assuming that learning will be more attractive to your students. The technology is seen, then, as a car that jump to keep up, dated, stuck in the past, oblivious to the supposed reality and the supposed interests of boys and girls. However, it remains to verify the effectiveness of these tools to improve their performance or increase their skills and knowledge. And compared to WhatsApp specifically, beyond that facilitates contact between students when homework or help distribute the shared management of them, not me learning applications occur. Essentially, it is a distribution network for instant messaging and you do not think you can demand anything more.

Other teachers believe that this type of tool can be distracting, how do you think you can redirect an attitude of dispersion or misuse of this application?

previously suggest relativize the perception that something is happening at all times and must learn They are taking it to the mobile constantly. Of course the phone is disruptive and distracting not only for notifications come through WhatsApp, but the rest of social networks that teenagers can participate. -imprecision- Receive too little transcendent, perhaps interesting but unimportant stimuli, hindering sustained concentration in an activity, and even more if it is to deal with abstract concepts that require intellectual effort.

To redirect smartphone misuse should be considered situations, places or times is not acceptable consult the screen, and realize that most of the contents that reach us through the networks are not important, and therefore they should not be devoting attention in school, work on your case, or in society. Teenagers themselves are aware of the need to establish limits and check when if and when it is not appropriate to consult the screen.

Other negative behaviors that occur in the classroom are played in WhatsApp? (Bulling, exclusion, rumor mill, etc.)

Facilitates greater volume gain reprehensible behavior. Before, and apart from WhatsApp, there have been and still abuses and rumors, and exclusion or the feeling of being excluded not only translates a part of a certain group of WhatsApp. But the ubiquity of the mobile site now present these problems. With the addition of the ability to control the spread of inappropriate content is virtually zero.

The privacy and intimacy of children affected by the misuse of this type of tool?

It ​​is true that at this point is fairly widespread and the idea that we must choose the safest options and configurations closed between the privacy that can offer social networking. However, the debate also situated in the area of content being shared, regardless of the contact group held as reference.

It’s funny how and the girls say they are concerned about their privacy, they reject that adults can access to their spaces. This explained at the time the popularity of Tuenti, a network in which adults were introduced was much more complicated than Facebook, and also explains the actual transfer of younger users snapchat or networks such as Instagram, in which Adults are not as comfortable. But at the same time they are not always aware of the extent of exposure to undergoing voluntarily. In this respect the dynamics of social networks, but not exclusively, based on the image, it is quite perverse. The search of acceptance and popularity invites reconstruct identities to the gallery, to appear, to be accepted, to get attention, to get popularity. The boundaries between private and public are blurred and identity is generated, in large part, facing the gallery.

What measures can be taken on that?

Continue insisting on the need to ensure privacy platforms in terms of technical aspects and, in fact, require the industry to do its utmost to facilitate free and safe participation for children and adolescents. Regarding the type of content that are generated and shared voluntarily, it is worth remembering that not confuse likes with friends, you need to relativize the online popularity and that remains life beyond mobile devices.

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