Tag: Alexandra Samuel

Becoming Media Mentors & Media Mentor Month

Thank you to all of the parents who participated in this morning’s session “Becoming Media Mentors for Our Children”. I really do appreciate your time and the thoughts that you shared with the other parents in the room. For those who weren’t able to attend, I’m embedding the slides that we used as well as a few resources that we discussed. At the bottom of this post, I explain Media Mentor Month and link to the calendar of activities (in English, Mandarin, and Korean).

What are Media Mentors?

We spent a good amount of time discussing the work of Alexandra Samuel and her research into 10,000 families in North America. In her work, she categorized the families that she spoke with into three distinct camps: technology limiters, technology enablers, and technology mentors. While we all exhibit behaviors from all three camps at different times during our lives (or even during the day!), it is important to note that it is one’s general mindset that is key.  In her research, Samuel discovered that Mentor-inspired parents are more likely to have conversations about the responsible use of technology, and children of Limiter-inspired parents are more likely to engage in  online misbehavior.

You can watch her briefly explain her work here:

What is Media Mentor Month?

Parents may sometimes feel like they don’t know where to start when talking about media, technology and screen time with their children. Media Mentor Month is a series of activities and conversation starters that parents can use to initiate these important discussions with their children. As we discussed in the session, being a mentor is not the same as being the expert nor does it require you to have all of the answers. Becoming a Media Mentor for your child is more about parents understanding what their children are doing online and with technology, understanding why it is important to them, and helping them to learn to make decisions that align with your values as a family.

It would be great if parents can have all 30 of these discussions with their children, but in reality we know that will be hard for most families. So instead of trying to do everything, pick and choose the ones that are right for you!

Media Mentor Month – English Version
Click for printable PDF version

Media Mentor Month – Mandarin Version
Click for printable PDF version

Media Mentor Month – Korean Version
Click for printable PDF version

True screen wisdom is about relationships. It’s the kinds of connections we can have with one another. It’s about trust. And balance.

Devorah Heitner 

 

 

Be a Media Mentor for Your Child

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.

Read more about Dr. Samuel’s findings here in her article in The Atlantic.

When looking at the percentage of children who have misbehaved online, Dr. Samuel discovered that it is the children of Digital Mentors who are often making the best choices.

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!

 

Click to view the full-size file for download

Click to view the full-size file for download

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