Parenting Digital Natives

Our kids are definitely tech savvy, but we have wisdom… and wisdom wins every time.
~Devorah Heitner

On Thursday night, Dr. Devorah Heitner presented, Parenting in a 1:1 Environment to HMS and WJHS parents.  Devorah is a great presenter with a pragmatic approach that allows her audience to connect well with her content.  She uses real world examples and takes a common sense approach to helping parents understand how to help kids navigate their techno saturated world.  It is our belief that if we are going to put a device in every child’s hands we have a responsibility to help parents learn to best set limits and deal with the digital native in their home.  This presentation is another step in that direction.

Devorah’s presentation was jam packed with great information and a healthy perspective about balance and limit setting.  I have outlined a couple of the finer points of her presentation below.  Her full presentation will be available on the HMS and WJHS websites soon.

  • When we were kids limiting media consumption was easy… We had five channels (2, 5, 7, 9, and 32) and when a show was over you had to wait till next week to watch the next episode.  There was no such thing as “binge watching.”  Today, kids have a steady diet of programing from networks, cable, YouTube, and a variety of other sources.  We need to make sure that we are helping our children to set limits and monitor their media diet.  Devorah suggests taking an interest in your child’s entertainment choices and watch shows and play games together.

  • When it came to technology we were taught proper etiquette… Our parents may have taught us the proper way to answer a phone, “Thank you for calling the Palzet household, this is David speaking.  How may I help you?”  Many of our parents also put restrictions on what we could watch on TV (Threes Company).  These limits instilled values and helped us better understand what our families stood for.  In a media soaked world it is hard to set these limits and keeping our kids from some of the more seedy parts of the internet can prove difficult.  You should be having an open and ongoing dialogue with your child about his/her media consumption and helping them to set limits based on your family’s values.

  • When it comes to screen time… Devorah advocates for quality over quantity.  If kids are creating videos, playing socially appropriate games, or composing a blog we should feel good about their screen time.  If they are spending copious hours texting, social networking, or watching videos we may want to set some limits.  Time restrictions for the amount of time engaged in consumption activities varies based on your child.  However, if you notice your child becoming frustrated or short tempered when using technology, it may be time to put the device down.

  • When it comes to how tech savvy our kids are…  This is my favorite quote of the night, “Our kids may have tech savvy, but we have wisdom and wisdom wins every time.”  Her message was clear that we need not doubt our parenting abilities and set clear limits based on our family’s values.  You have life experience that you can use to help your child navigate the social situations that he/she may get into when using technology.  Trust your gut.

Activities like bringing speakers to the school demonstrates our commitment to partnering with you and provide guidance as you navigate the world of the digital native.  We are committed to providing other wonderful experiences as our programs develop and grow.

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