Digital Age Parenting

This post has been cross-posted to SalisburySD.US.

distraction2A week ago, I shared a post asking parents and teachers how they manage digital distraction in the classroom and at home. We’ve had several replies in the comments section. Be sure to check them out and add yours if you haven’t already!

Over the past week, I’ve also discovered several outstanding online resources that provide additional tips and strategies. I’ll share one in this post and have linked to several more at the end. While these resources are focused on parents, we can all learn from them, parents and educators alike.

Susan Lucille Davis, parent to two daughters, shares three tips in A Letter to Parents of Digital Age Children. (This is such an outstanding post, I have decided to quote the main points.)

  1. Teach your children how to cross the digital street. – “Our young people are still learning their way around the digital landscape largely on their own — when what we need to do is confidently take them by the hand, show them how to look both ways, and cross the street with them — at least at first. That means staying up-to-date about digital safety, the rules of the road, and what’s going on in the neighborhood. Finally, we need to foster the kinds of personal relationships that encourage our kids to talk about where they are going and what they discover along the way (their successes as well as their mistakes) once we let them travel on their own.”
  2. Help your children pursue their passions online. – “Most parents I know bend over backwards to find the right camps and after-school programs to help their children become better musicians, athletes, actors, programmers, or artists. Just think how you might broaden their experience even more by guiding your children towards the tools and communities online that can help them learn the skills they most want to master.”
  3. Help your children manage their digital “brand.” – “As a parent, you are no doubt concerned about the possible missteps your children may take online as they (or their friends) share private information and media without thinking about the ugly repercussions that might result in the future. You may also want to take an active role in guiding your child as he or she documents the positive stuff — an emerging talent or an amazing self-motivated project, for instance — in an ad hoc digital portfolio. In the end, though, it’s the same thing: helping your children manage the digital “brand” that will follow them for life.”

And her “Final Plea” states so well the importance of all adults, educators and parents, working together to help children learn and thrive in a digital world.

“Helping children learn how to navigate their way in the digital world is a complicated business. Those of us in education need parents like you to be involved as active and open learners about the digital world, learners who can engage with us, their children and their children’s teachers, in much-needed conversations about digital matters. We need parents to act as important models and supports in their childrens’ explorations online. We need, parents and schools alike, to get past the fear that holds us back from connecting with young people when they need us most. Only then can we help them travel far and learn from the journey once they cross the street to encounter the world.”

For additional resources on the topic of digital generation parenting and managing distraction, consider visiting these links:

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3 comments on “Digital Age Parenting

  1. What a fascinating new world for parents and raising youth. It makes me wonder: what would you recommend to parents or professionals who work with young people (1) being “friends” or “followers” with students and youth on social media or (2) avoiding them outright to steer clear of trouble? For example, I know many teachers and professionals who work with youth who recommend not being friends with any young people on social media. It’s almost daily news that some controversy happens over social media between adults and youth.

    My thoughts? Avoidance sounds to me like a strategy for protecting ourselves but not our young people. We need to share our online world as openly as our offline world, I believe, and be role models in both.

    • Thanks for your reply! Controversies between adults and youth are almost always based on stupid behavior. Adults prefer to “protect” themselves by not engaging with students on social media because they don’t understand social media. To let kids unto themselves on social media is like leaving them unsupervised on the playground. They define their own rules and often make bad choices. Adults need to learn the power of social media and model for youth how to use it effectively for communication, socialization and learning.

  2. Pingback: WEEK 7 – DIGITAL BLURRING | courtneyandersonblog

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