Working with kids in schools these past weeks, and indeed having five children of my own, has alerted me to the seemingly unprecedented obsession with the new online game Fortnite. Not since Pokémon Go has something seemed to take the world by storm, leaving parents wondering when it will ever stop.
Like many parents, I struggle with kids and screen time, most notably with computer games. I set time limits on play, check games are age-appropriate, ban devices from the bedroom and offer all sorts of alternative play and activities … but still get disheartened that my two boys would rather race virtual cars and navigate imaginary worlds than kick a football around or build Lego.
Each year, Oxford Dictionaries chooses a Word of the Year. For 2016, the 'Word of the Year was 'post-truth'.
'Post-truth' is the idea that it is easier to influence public opinion with messages that appeal to emotions, belief and prejudices than it is using facts. It is an idea that has been around for awhile, but was brought to a head in 2016 during the Brexit vote in the UK and the Presidential election in the USA.
"Keep all digital devices out of the bedroom!"
"Be a parent, not a friend"
"Don't let your child do anything online that you wouldn't let them do offline"
These were the three key statements repeated by cyber safety expert, Susan McLean, at King's 'Growing Up Online' Cyber Safety Seminar on 4 October 2016.