Teen risk-taking is biologically rooted and precedes the entrepreneurship we need as a society. While online evils cannot be totally avoided, parents and teachers must start teaching good judgement in consuming media from the early years as they do traffic safety, hygiene, and later, good driving.
As a veteran child psychiatrist, I know that the generic cause of tragic incidents such as Skout’s and that well-dramatized in David Schwimmer’s “Trust” ultimately cannot be completely prevented.
From an evolutionary and neuroscience / psychology POV, teens are necessarily hard-wired and socially sanctioned to be “entrepreneurial”, as are most mammalian young. This, not only to eventually evolve the youngster into unique a individual, but also to begin to become the essential innovator needed to contribute to society’s diversity and survival.
Any good mentor for modern startups will teach the cardinal principle that entrepreneurs must experiment, take chances, and make and learn from mistakes. And BTW, only free societies like ours, Israel’s, and other modern democracies support such strivings. As a startup founder myself, my favorite mentor recently admonished me, “Go out and make mistakes!”
But not all teens are true entrepreneurs, because of a variety of reasons, including lack of opportunities, talent, persistance, etc. Additionally, many are immature, lacking sufficient insight, judgement, or trust in adults who care to help make major decisions. These young experimenters are vulnerable prey to predators. Moreover, younger and younger kids are also consuming more and more media and are even more vulnerable.
Another, more insidious, less sensational, but dangerously enduring risk is the progressive damage to children’s intellect, social skills, health, and emotional development that excessive or inappropriate media consumption can cause.
So what are parents to do? Start early and continue to raise digital kids with good media consumption habits solidly embedded in family life beginning in the preschool years. So I wrote the book and invented a media manager to help. I believe that children and families of all communities would benefit from ZillyDilly as they try to figure out how iPads benefit and fit into education and home life, and not the other way round.
As these trends evolve, you might find the following helpful and might also take a look at the ZillyDilly solution to kids online and share with school decision makers and parents.
DEEPER BACKGROUND ABOUT KIDS AND TECH: