Research presented by O2 in the UK, late last year showed that while parents still hoped for a traditional career path for their children, children maintained they’d prefer a technology focused job. It was based on the ambitions of 5 to 16 year olds compared to their parents.
Despite differing aspirations, both parents and children believe they’ll need digital skills in their future careers. Only 11% of mums and dads however, encourage their kids to use technology as a way to develop skills or express their creativity online. They also don’t encourage talking about online lives in the same they talk about offline lives. The research showed that only a third of parents talk to their children about what they do online compared to three quarters of parents who talk about what they do at school every day.
In addition less than half (37%) of children surveyed thought their parents were well informed about the online world. Maybe parents could learn something by changing the conversation to include online worlds and kids might have more to say?
As a result of their findings O2 have partnered with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to give parents some tools and resources to help them feel more confident. This includes a Net Aware App which explains the social networks, apps or games that kids are using. It's worth checking out if you’re a parent or caregiver and want to better understand what apps your children are using.
The world our kids are living in is vastly different from the one many of us grew up in. The skills they will require are different from what we needed and they will have to adapt and change more quickly to keep up. The expectations of our kids about their future careers may be naïve (we will surely still need doctors after all!) but we need to engage with their worlds both on and offline in order to best guide and support them.