Talk to the Digital Natives

Tracy Webb (bio) confesses that the best way to learn new technology is to maintain open communication with the digital natives — the students.

I think probably one of the most important things for those of us who aren't digital natives need to understand is that, first of all, the kids are much smarter about the technology than we are. I think most of us know that, but I think we have to be open to the fact that we need to make a concerted effort to learn how to help them. So if that means teachers or administrators or clinicians or whoever it happens to be, you actually have to keep up with the technology, make an effort to at least try to understand the technology.

Talk to the kids. A lot of times, the best way to learn about what's out there and what's new and what's in and what the trends are is to talk to them, because these digital natives are so proud of themselves at how they feel about technology and how good they are at technology that most of the stuff that I learn, that our forensic detectives learn, is usually from the kids.

So they'll come and they'll tell us about a new chat room or a new website or a new app that's out there. More often than not, we haven't heard of it until they tell us about it.

So a lot of it is just a really open communication and dialogue either between parents and children or educators and children about what's going on out there and sort of teach them to help us and teach them to help each other, not to be bystanders, but if they see something, say something, as that not so old adage goes. And sort of open communication between everybody, but I think a lot of times, we have to rely on the kids to teach us how the technologies work.

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Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.


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More From Tracy Webb (bio)

  • Cyberbullying Defined

  • Digital Immigrants Teaching Digital Natives

  • Resources for Dealing With Cyberbullying in Schools

  • The Proof Is in the Technology