Before my son was born, I used to worry about the state of the world and where it was headed. Now I don't just worry. I panic. One look on the internet and I break out in a cold sweat. How am I supposed to prepare my son to compete in such a fast moving, mind boggling world? How can I protect him from the dangers whilst still giving him the advantages? How can I ensure he makes good choices? Sometimes I consider throwing the computer in the bin and living some kind of archaic tech-free life. But when 65% of jobs for my son's generation still haven't been invented yet. How can I keep him from the one thing he might need to survive? We can't hide from the internet - as much as we might like to. We have to prepare them for it.
But there's something we have to remember. The internet might be faceless and fast moving and all encompassing. But behind every article, behind every website and blog, is a person telling a tale. The way I see it, the internet is just full of people telling their stories. Some are good stories, some are bad, some are real, some are make believe and some are fake. But at it's heart its just storytelling.
So tell your kid stories. Tell them the same stories from different points of view. Remind them there are endless ways to tell every story and everyone has a reason for telling their tale. Even better teach them to be storytellers. Teach them to spot a trickster by the cut of his jib. Arm them with the ability to tell their own stories and they will not only be able to see through the smoke and mirrors of the internet, they will be able to use it to their advantage.
Vicky McFarland is a storyteller and writer based in Northern Ireland. Her Tale Time audio stories are enjoyed by children across the world. You can follow her on facebook and twitter, visit the website or join the mailing list to find out about new story collections.