On Tuesday, March 20, ES parents were invited to the workshop “Parents as Media Mentors: Tech and the 21st Century Family”, hosted by Clint Hamada, Rebecca Taylor and Sam Griffin (ES Ed Tech) and ES Counsellor, Kevin Kooienga.
The workshop offered parents an opportunity to explore:
- Different modes of “digital parenting” (digital limiter, digital enabler, digital mentor)
- The ways in which technology is used at home (consumption, communication, creation – including combinations)
- How to create family technology agreements
- Media Mentor Month
The session began with a clip from an American experiment where children were allowed unconstrained access to technology over a period of a few days. From this, it wasn’t hard to see the importance of setting boundaries as the children clearly became tired and agitated. Interestingly, the children themselves acknowledged that unlimited technology was unhealthy.
- 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.
Quality vs Quantity
Working in table groups, parents in the workshop discussed the different ways technology is being used at home. For example, are we mainly using technology to consume media (such as watching YouTube clips or playing games for entertainment)? To what extent do our children use technology to create (for example, making games using Scratch or Minecraft)? Or are we using technology to connect with others (social media, Skype etc). In many cases, our children are often doing several of these things in combination (such as watching a YouTube clip of a Minecraft tutorial while simultaneously creating their own Minecraft world). All of this highlights the need for monitoring, discussion and awareness of the quality and quantity of technology use at home.
The ISB RUA
In the ISB Elementary School, our Responsible Use Agreement has been designed to reference the school rules of Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible in the context of classroom technology. Students, teachers and specialists work with Ed Tech to ensure positive use of technology, supported with a range of proactive (and, where necessary, reactive) measures.
Family Media Agreement
Family Media Agreements have become a favourite model for parents looking to develop a media mentor model at home. Having open discussion around technology use as a family allows each member a chance to reflect on their own habits and what they hope to see from one another. Workshop attendees were invited to use the ISB Family Tech Agreements worksheets, or, create their own, in ways that best suited their particular circumstances as a family.
Please look out for future parent workshops in this series over the coming months. We are keenly interested in hearing your views on the types of workshops and resources you would like to see in the future – or anything else we can help with – so please be in touch any time.