SIS News Archive

Parenting in the Digital Age
Posted 09/19/2017 02:32PM

Last week the Learning Innovation coaches and the counsellors hosted Parenting in the Digital Age meetings for elementary and middle school parents. The digital world has changed a lot in the last few years. The iPhone celebrated its ten year anniversary lately. Apple and the iPhone are credited by many as ushering in the smartphone revolution. As one who uses Wechat to order my lunch, arrange a ride with Didi and buy my groceries, it's hard to remember a time when I didn't have a computer in my pocket 24/7. It's great. It is revolutionary but sometimes as parents we wonder what this means for our children. We worry.

Most of us can't look to our own childhood experience with technology to know what to do. We can't look to our parents as role models which can be hard but there are good resources available to us as parents.

Common Sense Media is a site full of resources to help parents establish clear expectations with their children around technology use. It also has ideas for consequences when children don't meet those expectations. In addition, it reviews software, movies and games which my wife and I found useful when our children were younger. If my daughter wanted to watch a movie that I hadn't heard of, I could read a synopsis of the movie and decide if I felt it was appropriate for her to watch.

HealthyChildren.org is another site where families can create their own Family Media Plan. The site guides you and your children through discussions on when you will use technology and what areas of your home will be device free i.e around the dinner table or in bedrooms. After completing the Family Media Plan you can print it and post it in a central place. In our home we used to put important things like this on our refrigerator door where it would be a good reminder for all.

It is true that many of us did not have smartphones or laptops when we were growing up but we can still draw on the example of parents from past generations. Open and clear communication with our children, clear expectations and logical consequences for when children don't meet those expectations are just as important today as they were in the past.


Rob Cormack | Director of Learning Innovation

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