Wherever you are in the world; if you’re a parent, you have similar hopes and fears..
All parents work hard to create loving, positive and healthy environments for their kids to grow up in. But, as parents, there just seems to be so much that is out of our control:
Money, politics, culture, trends (both social and cultural). They’re all things that happen outside of our immediate ability to influence them; and it’s what makes being a parent at times simultaneously wondrous, hilarious and terrifying!
But here’s the thing. There’s absolutely no reason why technology and the internet should add to parents’ worries.
And even better: it’s so simple.
Here are the 3 things that some of our favorite global DigCit Leaders (and DigCit Summit organizers) believe you can do as a parent to foster a positive family environment, where technology enables learning, fun, and being together:
1. Get informed
Dr. Olurinola Oluwakemi is an EduTech Consultant in Nigeria, and spoke at the DigCit Summit Cameroon last year.
Tola Olayefun, who provides much of the energy behind the DigCit movement in Africa, and organized the first DigCit Summit in Nigeria, agrees:
Maria Zabala Pino is a leading thinker in EdTech, parent expert, and organizer of the second DigCit Summit in Spain:
Ben Cogswell, award winning educator from California and organizer of the upcoming DigCitSummit California agrees that it’s about being informed, but also optimistic about what tech can do for our kids, if we know how to use it properly:
2. Be a role model
Kemi: “Our kids learn most by the example we set before them. We, as parents need to model what good digital citizenship looks like for our children. They learn more by what we do more than what we say. These can be done by spending time online together to teach them appropriate online behavior. Keep the computer in a common area where it can be easily monitored. Bookmarking favorite sites for easy access to the children. Create a safe and open environment for children to share freely and take seriously whatever reports made by them.”
Tola agrees and wants to see parents, “become full role models regarding responsible and appropriate use of technology and the internet.”
Ben sees parents’ role as modeling positive behaviors and providing practical guidance for when kids are ready to enter the digital world themselves: “I think that before we just hand kids a phone, we need to have lots of conversations about it. Just like kids have a learner permit before they can drive we need to help them learn how to use it safely, productively, while staying healthy.”
3. Do it together
Ben: “I think a key is taking time to do it TOGETHER. You can explore fun filters and photography, and discuss self image. Take some time to learn something new on Youtube. Play a game together and then have a conversation about it after.“
Maria: “I love when I see families talking about what they do, enjoy, fear, dislike, prefer or hate in their digital lives. I think it’s extremely important to normalize technology, make it part of family life through shared moments, shared conversations and shared learning.”
So, it’s simple. By taking the time to inform themselves, by modeling the behaviors they want to see adopted, and using tech together, parents have it within their power to make the most of the digital world.
As we explore in our DigCitKids book, we believe that it doesn’t matter where you live or what language you speak, we are all in this together. And as all our partners’ contributions show; parenting has the same joys and challenges all over the world!
By getting involved and sharing kids’ experiences online, parents can make sure that digital citizenship isn’t just something that is done at school. It happens at work, and at home. And it’s helping to create a more positive, connected and connected world for all.