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Parenting Digital Citizens - Video and Resources



Earlier this year Jeff Utecht led a group of parents in meaningful conversation around parenting digital citizens as part of our Parent Partnership Series we are co-hosting with RFWF. We are the first generation of parents and educators who have the opportunity and challenge to raise/teach digital citizens. Jeff's information and recommendations for families is incredibly important as we navigate this new territory together.

Today we shared a condensed version of Jeff's presentation on Facebook and YouTube. We appreciate the time you invest in watching the 5-minute video. You are welcome to share the video and resources below.

YouTube (good for sharing through email):

Facebook (good for sharing via social media):

Our tech team shared the resources below during the event:

Eduro Learning Website:
This website is a collection of online resources (many of them are free) to support parenting students in the digital world. Use this discount code (ESDparents1017) to receive 15% off any purchases from this site.

Free E-Book:
Top 5 Concerns for Parents in the Digital World

Common Sense Media:
This website is full of helpful resources, videos, and topics to help teach digital citizenship.

Sample Family Media Agreement Forms:
Resources to create a family media agreement or device contract:

This website is created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and has resources and activities for you and your family.

Transcript: Parenting Digital Citizens
October 25, 2017 with Jeff Utecht, Eduro Learning, in the EHS Library

Kids today have no idea what the internet sounds like. The internet makes a noise. We remember that. I love talking to middle school kids. The idea of a computer and internet being two separate pieces of technology fries a seventh graders brain. I think it is so good to sit down and reflect on this because this is what it means to live in 2017 in America. Right now what we are looking at as of almost a year ago, we are looking at over seven connected devices per household, or roughly 3.5 devices per person in America. By 2020 we expect that to jump all the way up to 10 devices per household. And you start thinking like you start having smart switches in your house or smart light bulbs, that number grows really, really quickly.

Parenting in the Digital Age
Part of this when we talk about parenting in the digital age is understanding that we need to stop pretending we don't live in it. It's just part of life. We need to stop making excuses for it and accept this is the way work gets done. This is the way we play and this is the way we communicate.

Accept new technology
Because once we can accept it, then we can start finding ways to make sure we stay balanced with it.

What makes a good citizen?
Considerate. The word considerate. Good. How about you guys? Respectful. Compassionate. Reliable. Polite.

What makes a good digital citizen?
If you will pick up your other pen color and in front of or on top of the "Citizen" will you now add the word "Digital". We're going to change the meaning and the term. Now instead of thinking of characteristics that make a good citizen, what are characteristics that make a good Digital Citizen? Have any of you realized or looked at or just come to a conclusion that there's not a whole lot of stuff that’s different when we add the word digital? I love doing this activity and know that you can do this if you're not here with your full family. This is a great activity to do as a full family as well. To me, what I love doing this specifically with parents is you already know what the conversation is. Just because we add the word digital doesn't change a whole lot. Is it scarier because you don't understand Snapchat and you don't get Instagram? Absolutely. But when we're teaching children to be good friends, being a good friend digitally is the same as being a good friend face to face. The place is different, the conversation remains the same.

Understand where kids are coming from
You know kids sitting around where we would hope that they would be talking with each other and they are all on their devices talking to each other. We're like just put the device down and talk to each other. I think we have to think about where these kids came from because not too long ago they were these kids. Where all of a sudden they could talk to their grandparents via Skype halfway across the country and that is amazing.

Anytime learning
One of my favorites here is in the real world YouTube is one of the most popular tools for learning. Raise your hand if you have ever learned something new by watching a YouTube video. And here's the biggest part, and this is the part I think is fascinating, and this is where we are struggling in education, what all of you have already done and what we've done in the real world is we've made the switch to anytime learning. You learn something the moment you need to know it because you know how. We are trying to teach a generation who has been raised in an era that they learn something the moment they need to know it. The problem is our educational system was built to teach you everything you might need to know in life in case you need to know it.

Major switch in education
That is a major switch we are trying to make in education is all of a sudden we have access to learn anything the moment we need it. One of things we talk about a lot with teachers is that if you're asking a question where a kid can Google it and give you the answer, you're asking the wrong question. My favorite thing talking especially with middle school and high school teachers is like you want your kid to be on one tab on your Chromebook. Let's go look at your Chromebook. How many tabs do you have open? That's just not the way anybody works. Nobody works with one tab open.

I understand
Also understand that when kids come to you using statements like "I understand" are really powerful. We're all dealing with this. So the idea of this: "I love technology too. A lot. Like so much I sometimes worry that I use it too much. It's everything. It's constant. It's hard to put down. I understand" that we are all struggling with this.

Take a “tech break”
Being able to take tech breaks as a family. I encourage every family once a year to take a complete, non-technology vacation.

Apps can help
Understand that there are apps that help. Two apps that we see kids using - kids using, I've never seen adults use them, but kids use them - one is called Stay Focused and the other one's called Task Timer. Stay Focused allows a student to take, I'll just use Facebook as an example, you just type in Facebook.com, and when you click, you click Stay Focused and all the sudden it blocks that website from yourself. That's self-discipline. Say for one hour, you can do work if you know that that's a website that you constantly are distracted by, you give yourself a one hour break and the computer won't let you access for one hour.

Addicted versus engaged
The other thing we have to think about is the idea of being "digitally addicted" versus "highly engaged". We hear a lot of talk about technology. I'm not saying there isn't addition to technology, but I think we have to be very careful when we use that word addiction and what that means. If it's causing a child physical harm, if they are losing sleep, if they are not eating, and in some way affecting their day to day life, that is an addiction. What we mostly see with kids is highly engaged kids who play a game and play a game until they beat the game and then they never play it again. We see the same thing with kids reading books. You would never see a kid that was into a book reading Harry Potter and saying, "Oh my gosh, I can't put it down," you would never say, "Wow, you're addicted to that book. Let's take it away from you."

Using technology in a central place
I have a friend of mine that they have set up, actually created by watching YouTube videos, a charging station in the middle of the house.

Have a digital contract
One of the things I always talk about with parents is that you should have the ability to check the history of any device. It's the same thing as just go unplug the router. Right, you can unplug that thing. You can unplug the wifi, then we're all off.

We are digital parents
And as we wrap up, just understand that digital parenting is not an option. It's here. It's here with us. Congratulations on being the first generation of parents to try to figure it out, and know that it is something we have to embrace. We have to see it. We have to explore it. We are going to make mistakes, but we will make it through.