Teaching kids to use technology responsibly is the responsibility of both families and schools. In an effort to help parents, we've been offering parent education talks on the topic for about the past seven years, such as one this Thursday, Parenting Tech Savvy Elementary Kids 101, January 8, 2015, 6:30–8pm, in the Excelsior Elementary Auditorium. My colleague, Kelli Whiteside, an Elementary Media Specialist, and I will be presenting. We offer free transportation for parents in the school district that may not have a vehicle. Our elementary session description is:
Tablets, Smartphones, Minecraft, Instagram, Snapchat . . . Technology is a big part of our kids’ world! Keeping up can be challenging, but a positive and well informed approach can have a big impact on your child’s future and habits. Learn how to help your kids develop a balanced and healthy use of technology. Get tips to develop safe and effective research habits, ideas for maintaining open dialog about technology, and understand the significant role you play in helping your child be responsible and safe in today’s high-tech world. Numerous ideas and free resources like Common Sense Media will be shared. This presentation is geared toward parents of children in E – 5th grades.A link to our handout with all of these tips and resources can be found at tinyurl.com/CyberResources. Some of our tips include:
- Celebrate and Encourage Positive Uses of Technology
- Proactively share values, consequences, expectations away from home
- Model a Healthy Balance and Limit Entertainment Screen Time vs. Educational Screen Time
- Actively engage and monitor, keep informed of trends, pop culture
- Set up a filter and restrictions for all screens
- Talk about respectful etiquette and cyberbullying
- Avoid Violent Video Games
At school with students, we begin this process early in elementary school, with media specialists using the Common Sense Media curriculum with our students whom they see for direct instruction each week. At our secondary level, we are embedding the Common Sense Media curriculum into our announcements and also some of our advisory/homerooms. If you haven't ever looked at Common Sense Media, it's great. I'm always recommending this site to parents as a great place for up to date news on the latest trends, reviews of movies, apps, video games, etc., and advice on parenting in the Digital Age. We keep updating information to share with our students' families about cyber safety and digital citizenship on our website, including tips such as instructions about installing home internet filters and links to other resources. We started a District Task Force on Digital Citizenship this past summer. We've also refreshed a poster campaign, with some elementary and secondary examples pictured below:
Our hope is that by repeatedly reminding and educating both students and parents through multiple mediums and means, our students will be safe and responsible digital citizens.
Watch a 90 minute Minnetonka Parent Digital Citizenship Presentation for Secondary Students or 60 minute webinar.