No way: Kids aren’t turning to parents for help with tech

By | July 14, 2020

“According to most studies, people’s number-one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Now this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Jerry Seinfeld, in his introduction to Episode 63 of his popular sitcom series, noted there are seemingly endless surveys and studies of everything from your number-one fear to whether a good playlist will help you work out harder (apparently it does).

As both a parent and a technologist, I was interested in a recent study that sought to discover if parents are more comfortable talking to their children about the birds and the bees or the bits and the bytes.

As awkward as it may seem, 56 per cent of parents would prefer to talk to their children about the mechanics of reproduction rather than reveal their lack of knowledge when it comes to technology.

Furthermore, 60 per cent of parents said they use their children for advice on technology. There was no figure for how many parents use their children for advice on sex…

One real challenge for any modern parent is just keeping up with the number of acronyms. In any industry, initialisms and acronyms are subtly used to let people know who is in ‘the club’ with a blank look quickly appearing on the faces of those who are outsiders.

Even when we think we are keeping up to date, the rules quickly change with no memo from head office to help us out.

I distinctly remember one awkward situation when I was coaching my daughter’s netball team and one of the teenage players sent me a message which she signed off LOL.

“If you prefer to live your life in set and forget mode, be prepared for your kids to quickly bypass your knowledge.”

In my day LOL meant Lots Of Love. I was a little embarrassed and confused by this casual use of a term of endearment.

Upon asking my daughter for advice she politely advised me, after she recovered from laughing, that LOL meant Laugh Out Loud. But no one told me! She did LOL!

If you flip the tables around, kids feel about the same way as their parents. Forty per cent of the kids who participated in the survey believe they are more educated on technology than their parents and when they do need advice, 53 per cent of them turn to their peers for help.

One of the greatest strengths of technology is also its greatest weakness. Technology, by its very nature, moves quickly and changes constantly. Unlike the proverbial bike that you never forget how to ride, if you look the other way with technology, it may be unrecognisable when you look back again.

Staying up to date with technology requires an attitude of learning and curiosity. Whether you are seven or 70, if you find the world interesting and want to know more, you will be able to stay in touch with technology.

If you prefer to live your life in set and forget mode, be prepared for your kids to quickly bypass your knowledge.

With a quarter of kids seeking information from YouTube and 60 per cent of children prepared to seek advice from their elders – if only they knew more, the obvious answer is for Mum and Dad to create their own YouTube channel giving advice to kids!

Either their kids would love to tune in and seek advice – or they would be so embarrassed that they would agree to continue to talk to Mum and Dad if they would just take down that silly YouTube channel!

Tell me if you still give your kids technology advice at

  • Mathew Dickerson is the founder of regional tech and communications company Axxis Technology

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