Digital Families Community Events Launching
When I talk to my mom friends, invariably the conversation turns to technology. How do we introduce it? Have you heard of this new multi-user game or app? What limits do we set? Can we find out if our kid is using social media to bully others? How do we keep them safe from internet-predators and scams?
What I hear from my friends is often confusion and worry. As someone with an online business that depends on social media (and a self-professed tech nerd), believe me, I get it. Whether the concern is Snapchat’s “after dark” content or Instagram being used as a tool for exclusion: technology is tethered to our children’s identity and well-being and thus, ours as well. But it’s not as simple as following a manufacturer’s car seat installation instructions. Tech is both complex and constantly changing.
And parents are overwhelmed
Where the digital world demands nuance and understanding, we parents often deliver blunt resistance. Parents will often refuse to let their kid have any technology, or, blindly adopt all technology and social media whenever the child first requests access.We don’t employ systems for modeling appropriate boundaries within technology. There is often no conversation about the digital world, in fact. Kids are therefor left to their own devices (sorry for the pun) to figure everything out on their own.
I remember the first time I saw my (young) kids on social media without my permission.
They were sitting with a couple sweet seventh grade girls, taking photos, laughing and smiling. My daughters were only five and six, and idolized the older girls. As I walked over, I realized that the seventh grade girls were actually on Snapchat, using filters with my daughters. I was stunned. Since then I’ve learned of kids who set up Instagram accounts on their friend’s phones, of tweens facing expulsion after exchanging half-nude selfies on school laptops, and of schools who cancelled their homecoming dances due to Fortnight overtaking all social interest.
Parents who refuse accept that technology is part of their child’s world also fail to accept that it is unavoidable, and that it is our job to educate, inform, and support our children throughout their budding relationship with tech.
At the same time, what do we say to our kids?
The digital world is an ever-evolving landscape and despite being surrounded by tech on the daily, I still find it hard to “get it right” in conversation with my own children. When should my kids get cell-phones or access to social media? How do I insulate them from bullies and online predators? What standards should we model as the adults with technology?
These are not easy questions, friends.
This is why I am 100% here for this national movement toward empowering parents. Digital Families Community Events aims to connect local parents in 200 national locations to experts who will train parents to navigate the complicated world of technology.
Let’s Talk About Tech, Bay-Bee
Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with Antigone, head of Facebook’s Global Safety, about their new campaign to educate and empower parents across America through Digital Families Community Events, in partnership with National PTA. I included the full press release below for you to read, and below that, are more links to connect you to information and support. But first, here are some answers to questions you may have:
Where are these courses being held?
Apply to host through your PTA! Facebook and National PTA have opened up applications for a grant to host Digital Families Community Events (read this presser if you’d like your school’s PTA to host).
Do I have to belong to my local PTA or school PTA to attend Digital Families Community Events?
No! These will be free and open to the public.
Why is Facebook organizing this?
Facebook has partnered with the National PTA to reach out to and support parents because they believe that an empowered society of social media users makes for a better digital experience for all. The heart behind this not-for-profit program is truly to help us moms and dads better navigate the complex digital era for ourselves and our children.
My child doesn’t use Facebook, will this campaign be relevant to us?
Digital Families Community Events will cover all digital platforms and is not just about certain social media channels.
My kids are young, should I partake in one of these courses, or wait?
As demonstrated above, it’s never to early to educate yourself, and we encourage you to attend!
Our kids deserve parents who can address technology from a place of knowledge and empowerment. And that is what this campaign aims to do:
Welcome Back to School: National PTA and Facebook Launch Digital Families Community Events
By Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety
Today we’re announcing a new collaboration with National PTA to conduct a series of 200 community safety events around the US. These Digital Families Community Events are designed to help families address tech-related challenges, from online safety and bullying prevention, to digital and news literacy.
The events, happening in all 50 states, are part of a grant program open to all PTAs so parents can get research-backed best practices and tools to help them have important conversations with their children about technology. Local PTAs can apply now for a grant to host an event. Hosts will receive a unique training on online safety so they can further extend the impact of these events. Visit Digital Families to learn more.
We’re proud to work with National PTA to help parents who are raising kids in a connected world. With more and more young people going online, this topic is more important than ever. Last year we launched the Facebook Parents Portal with tips to make it easier for parents to talk to their children about what they do online and set guidelines. We also continue to consult with external experts and advisors in the fields of online safety, child development and media, such as the Net Family News, Center on Media and Child Health, MediaSmarts, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and the Fred Rogers Center.