Humans are full of prejudices. Prejudices are things we think or believe before we’ve seen the evidence. Many prejudices are sensible and act to keep us safe. For example, if a man runs towards us down a dark alley, our prejudice – the belief that he’s going to attack us – helps keep us safe. We’d be foolish to wait to ask him a load of questions to find the evidence to support our belief. The sensible thing would be to react by running. Even though he might be running from someone else, or just going for a jog, or be late for his dinner, rather than trying to attack us.
Here are some prejudices that many teenagers bring to The Teenage Guide to Life Online or to my events when I come to speak to them about screens, smartphones and social media:
- I’m going to lecture them about their screen use
- I’m going to tell them to use their screens less
- I can’t know what I’m talking about because I’m old
- I’m just another adult trying to spoil their fun
- I don’t understand the benefits of screens, smartphones and social media
- I’m going to make rules for them that I’m not going to follow myself
- I think that teenagers and children should have different rules from the rest of us
- My book and talk will be based on negative newspaper headlines, not proper research
- I’m not on their side
- I’m not worth listening to
They are wrong about every single one of those things.
Schools, do you want to start a healthy, positive, constructive conversation about screens, smartphones and social media? Start with this video.
Lots of free resources about Life Online are here. Free teaching notes and downloadable materials.