I don’t think anybody would disagree with the importance of being a positive role model for your children. When it comes to technology, however, Dr. Alexandra Samuel has identified three distinct parenting styles in her research:
- The Digital Limiter: prefers to keep their children away from the internet, and often strictly limit screentime. These children are often Digital Exiles, kept out of the digital world for as long as possible;
- The Digital Enabler: respect their children’s’ abilities to make their own choices online and take cues from other families on how to use technology. These children are often Digital Orphans, left to explore on their own;
- The Digital Mentor: enjoys spending time with their children online, cultivating their children’s skills and fostering online learning. These children are often Digital Heirs, inheriting their parents’ values and skills.
So how can we help our children make these good choices? How can we become Media Mentors them?
Keri-Lee Beasley and Daniel Johnson from GEMS World Academy in Switzerland created and shared a calendar of suggested activities for parents to use as ways to engage with their children and discuss. This calendar also includes links to resources to help support you in having some of the more difficult discussions or in some of the more technical skills.
As a family, you may not be able to take part in all of the activities with your children, but that’s okay! We encourage you to find the ones that you can take part in and make the time to start having these important discussions and mentoring conversations within your entire family!