Tag Archives: parenting

Fears, Cheers, Unclears: Parenting in a Connected World

Every time I gather with friends, our conversation inevitably turns to our kids and their use of social media.  I find there are three types of parent attitudes:

ostrich I have no idea

A few parents have no idea about what apps their kids are on and what they are doing there.  They will openly admit to having no clue about how anything works and don’t really care to find out.

lock & keyThere is no way

A few of my friends are adamant that their kids not engage in any communication via social media and are openly fearful about anything concerning technology.  They are typically also extremely controlling of everything their kids do if they are on any of these platforms.

discussionLet’s Talk About it

Yet other parents are curious and involved.  They have frequent and open discussions with their kids about the apps they are using and how they are using them.  Despite this, these parents have lots of questions about the a apps themselves and how they work, in particular, how to keep kids safe.

And many of us fall somewhere in between.  Frankly, it feels like we’re swimming in unchartered waters without a life raft most of the time!

Enter the Fears, Cheers, Unclears Parent & Teen Community Event!

Parenting today is complicated.  What’s Snapchat? Instagram? Twitter?  How much time is too much time to be online?  How do I keep my kids safe, while giving them the space they need to grow into responsible adults?  Our panel discussion of adults and teens will start conversations around some of the questions that we have as we parent in a connected, digital age.

Get involved!  Please submit your questions for our panelists by clicking here.


Live in York Region? Register for this FREE event here.

Not in York Region?

We will be live-streaming this event.  Check @BullyFreeYR for the link closer to the event date.


Consider organizing your own event.  Look for the local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, approach your local Council,  and assemble a panel of community members.  I’d be happy to help you get started!

This initiative was made possible by the Awesome Foundation Grant and the generosity of the Town of Newmarket.

Check out the blog post New Roads GM Group wrote about our upcoming event here.

Awesome Foundation

Here is great post related to this topic, Protecting or Ignoring, by George Couros, and an article by Andrew Campbell posted in the Toronto Star, Are Kids Behaving Badly Online.

Attribution: The title Fear, Cheers, & Unclears comes from a protocol I used at a Ministry of Education (Ontario) session, but the original source of the protocol is unknown to me.

Parent ED Tech

I’ve been thinking lots about connecting home and school and the idea of Intergenerational Digital Literacy (a term I first heard Donna Fry use).

Intergenerational Digital Literacy

The idea of a Parent ED Tech Initiative was inspired by a successful Student ED Tech Day at St. Stephen’s and the fact that after our District-wide Student ED Tech day parents asked for their own!

So often, when parents are invited to the school it is for a presentation about cyber-bullying or safety online.  And though this is extremely important, I wonder about whether we can have these conversations without the typical fear narrative.

OR parents sometimes are opposed to technology in the classroom because they feel this generation is too dependent on it.  Just check out this article, Nature Valley Shames Modern Parents and the various comments on the Youtube video.

Nostalgia for the good old days seems to supersede any idea that technology can actually contribute to kids’ creativity and learning.  Do kids nowadays spend more time on their technology than we did on the telephone or watching tv?

Yes, parents are responsible for striking a balance between on and off screen time, but do parents really understand how technology can transform learning?  How it levels the playing field for some of our students who really need it? How students are using technology to connect in ways that we never could?  If we don’t show them and have conversations about this, will they ever know?

When I went to my PLN on Twitter, Silvia Tolisano  generously shared this Speed Geeking event which was extremely successful for the same reason our Ed Tech days had been: students love to share their tech-spertise!  I’ve also been thinking lots about the idea of building Digital Citizenship vs Digital Leadership.

Aviva Dunsiger has been actively involving parents as partners and has some great ideas how to build communication with parents in her class.

And schools are looking for ways to engage parents.

It’s a win/win!

We MUST include parents in conversations about Education Technology in school.  Not only that, I think we need to ensure that they can participate in using them as well.  Where access is an issue, can we provide opportunities to parents to use our connected schools?  Can we help direct them to community resources?

Toolkit ideas

I would like to create a toolkit for administrators & schools so that it is easy to put on variations of school What would be needed:

  • Student leaders could attend a Parent-Council Meeting and showcase Ed Tech tools there (or take time aside monthly for this to happen)
  • At Meet the Teacher night, one room could be a drop in center for parents to learn about Ed Tech Tools
  • Instead of bringing in a guest speaker, why not use the money for babysitting and have a Parent Ed Tech event instead?
  • Why not host an Hour of Code evening for parents (December)
  • Parents Making–have parents make something!

Here is a link to a Google Folder where I am putting together a variety of resources that might assist administrators to put on variations of Parent ED Tech initiatives on in collaboration with Parent Councils.   Are you an administrator?  What would you need to support you?  Are you a teacher or Consultant with ideas about what this could look like?

Please share your own best practices or ideas!