Don’t say ‘just don’t go online’ because adults wouldn’t do that if
something happened in the real world. If you got followed home, it’s not
like [they would say]: “Hey, stop leaving the house.” Help the person
understand that it wasn’t their fault and try to help them through it – be a
shoulder to cry on, but don’t try and affect their social life personally.
"Young people are often reluctant to involve adults in their online lives. Many
fear that parents and teachers will misunderstand or “overreact” in response to
what they mostly regard as normal, unproblematic behaviour and experiences.
Others say they are frustrated by adults who “trivialise” their experiences.
Over the past eight years, I have had extensive discussions with (mainly)
teenagers from a diverse range of social and economic backgrounds, ethnicities,
sexual orientations and genders about their experiences of social media and
messaging apps. A lot of those I speak to initially try to downplay any issues.
They make it clear they like being online and know how to handle any problems
that may come up.
But when I ask them to tell me more about these problems – while remaining
neutral and interested rather than appearing judgmental – it’s almost like the
floodgates open. They want to talk about the things they don’t like and
struggle with; they just worry that they’ll get into trouble if they are too
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics