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Those Werther’s Original moments

By Eleanor Levy, Editor, Parent Zone 

A while ago, I was talking to my teenage son and asked him if a programme I wanted to watch was still on the iPlayer.

He burst out laughing, so amused was he by my obvious cluelessness.

My crime?

No one, he informed me, calls it ‘the iPlayer’ any more. If he’d offered me a Werther’s Original and a nice cup of cocoa he couldn’t have been any more patronising.

But he was right. No one his age does call it ‘the iPlayer’.

This amazing, innovative service that means you can catch up on The Great British Bake Off whenever you want and wherever you are, is just simply ‘iPlayer’ to him and no big deal.

Because for people his age and below, it’s always been there, like books and magazines were for my generation. And despite the fact I am an internet-literate, social media-obsessed tech bore, by getting the terminology ‘wrong’, I was signalling to him and anyone his age that I really didn’t know what I was talking about. It was an inter-generational faux pas akin to my mum asking me if I’d seen ‘the Duran Duran’ in ‘the Smash Hits’.

It’s a small example but a telling one, of how quickly technology – how we use it and how we refer to it – can change. And if we’re not careful, those of us charged with helping children and young people make the most of the internet and the digital age can be left behind.

Which is why I am delighted to have joined Parent Zone as its new editor, and at such an exciting time. We recently held our second annual Digital Families conference in London.

On the 15th October, teachers, social workers and a host of others who work with children and young people, came together to meet fellow professionals, technology experts and the Internet Safety minister Baroness Joanna Shields to share best practice and hear the very latest research from Parent Zone about parenting in the digital age.

It was a wonderful opportunity to find out the most up to date help and information available to young people, their families and the professionals who support them. 

So I may still sometimes use the wrong word, or not always know my Periscopes from my Meerkats, but at least I now have a fighting chance of keeping up with my son and his digitally savvy mates.

Now, I wonder what’s streaming on the Netflix tonight…