Survival Kit: How to be 2.0 parents in 8 steps

Along with the invasion of the 2.0 shebang in our lives, my tribe develop some ackward behaviors together with the most repetitive & cryptic yells (kids usually don't speak - they're more comfortable at yelling). Usually it goes like that
- "Muuum can you tell Doris to give me the computer - It's my turn!"
- "Muuuuuum! computer's dead: I cannot install the ultimate extension of my *IM* (replace by any - we have them all) - C'mon , Mum! How can I dare writing without the latest emoticon set?"
- "Muuuum! computer's dead again: it says I cannot access the "latest ultimate gore" site, my schools pals told me to look at"
- "Muuuum! Help! for god's sake, somebody, heeeeeeelp!"

After a while of the kind, I've come to consider that I should put together the ultimate survival kit for us, poor savvy-elders, facing when not fighting against the tide of juvenile 2.0 experience.

First let me tell you what DOESN'T work
My great experience in IT project managements, quite naturally led me to set the standard dumb-user procedure. The one that goes like :
  1. Learn to categorize demand (from real disaster recovery to nice-to-have user experience enhancements)
  2. Attribute tickets (from "Time to go to bed! -meaning 'gosh, that one is tricky, I have to think about it" - to "calm down, here is your math exercice", not forgetting "How on earth do you think you'd fail being a better person if I don't buy the newest WoW extension?')
  3. Enrich the knowledge base - ask each ticket holder to fill in a form and only answer the repeatable bugs
  4. Close tickets
And you know why it doesn't work? Well... it's far too "1.0" oriented. You cannot answer them if you don't actually learn from them and share true experience. Being 2.0 parents or just parents of 2.0 kids is the same matter as usual: protect, upbringing, set and discuss limits, keep the line open of ANY discussions.

Now, here's the 2.0 parents Survival Kit:

  1. Explain and Demonstrate: take time to present how you think things actually work. "My teacher says Wikipedia's rubbish. Information isn't certified nor verified. Unreliable." Don't go nuts. No harsh word to the teacher. Take some example out of a field he/ she knows by heart and check.
  1. Share: the latest blog post you've read on Swine Flu / How to be a rock star using the Internet / what's Social Media / coolest tool you've find while browsing during lunch pause at the office... Surprisingly enough, sharing good stuff usually lead to receiving, in return, good stuff they've come accross :-) and ultimately - believe me or not - to passionate discussions.
  2. Engage vs. respect: Would you even think about opening the letters your kids receive or sneak into their diaries? Of course not. Now, how do you handle it when you're on the same social network (ie Facebook)? The most efficient solution I found is to apply the same respect you have in real life (letter, diaries etc.), while sharing as much as you do in real life: publish pictures upon common agreement only, comment anything "public" status etc. and to try to go any further. Keep the communication going :-)
  3. Bashing management: Guess what? Kids are as nice and gross on social networks as they are in real life. Can you believe it? Yes, I'm sure you can. Now when we learned about an anti-my-beloved-daughter facebook group, the situation had to be managed right away. Good thing is there's always a real person behind things like that. We discussed a lot about it and my daughter just went and talk about it to the FB group owner, who turned to be a girl from my daughter'sclass. Let's call her "Jennifer". Actually Jennifer felt really sorry about how things had turned and amplified - out of control she said. She removed the group the following day. Interestingly enough, both girls are now friends and have turned into kind of FB sentries, trying to regulate their environment on Facebook...
  4. Real life stalking: while we could handle bashing with discussions, actual stalking couldn't be handle like that. Twice, one of my kids has been harassed via phone texts and the bad guy was lingering in front of school, following up to the front of our house, and insulting. We tried discussion and then eventually fix it with the police.
    The tricky thing about real-life stalking based on 2.0 life is that kids don't necessarily feel at ease with mentioning it. As in real-life they feel they are responsible for it.
    2.0 parents MUST tell them, and infinitely repeat this CANNOT be admit. Give your kids any means / ways to let you know... share, engage, keep the line open :-)
  5. e-reputation management: based on the two latest items, the e-reputation management is a logical next step to discuss and clearly establish. Don't mention their future professional life - They are teenagers, remember? Do they give a damn about their future professional life? And, do we have any clue about what it'll look like, anyway?
    As I present it in a former post of mine, 2.0 life is just a natural expansion of their real-life: just explain they should behave online the way they do offline - with the highly-acceptable exception of being a powerful bad witch on WoW :-)
  6. Anti-spam education: the hell with chain letters! They're about to get there... harsh work, I can tell you!
  7. Highly responsive customer service: yeah, parenthood is a full time job. Now it goes to 2.0 life as well. Don't let them down while they experience trouble with the 2.0 shebang. They won't forgive you :-) And if you can't help them straight forward, you can bet someone else had met (and hopefuly solved) this issue before: google it :-)
Huh well, nothing real new, just new tools, new experience, extended privacy... Just don't miss that train. They're going so fast on these tracks that you might well lose them if you don't bother assisting.

Drawing from "geek and poke" - extremely funny blog- I'm not sure I attributed correctly it's CC work - if not, my apologies, the licence was written in German.