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Technology offers incredible opportunities for children to create, connect, collaborate and communicate like never before. With the ever increasing use of technology, there are many new challenges facing schools as a result. Navigating cyber bullying, privacy, screen time, online safety and many other digital dilemmas are especially challenging for schools and parents.
During the [holiday season] summer vacation you may be worried about your child spending all their time in front of the computer screen. When it comes to technology use, screen time, online gaming, there is no definitive right or wrong answer; each family is different.
Family Media Agreements
Before the holiday starts, I would suggest that you sit down as a family and speak about this issue. Communicate your thoughts and concerns to your child; listen to what they have to say and try to come up with a Family Media Agreement together as advocated by Common Sense Media, which is a non-profit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children.
Creative Screen Time
When we think about screen time we should focus on the quality of this time as opposed to the quantity. You should encourage activities that promote creativity and if time spent on a digital device is enabling this to happen, then it can be considered a valuable use of screen time.
An excellent idea to promote creativity during the summer vacation whilst using technology would be to appoint your children as family 'media journalists' with the job of documenting the holiday time? There are many ways that they could achieve this goal and here are just a small number of examples which students have been exposed to during their time at SWIS:
- Video production and editing (iMovie, Final Cut Pro);
- Animation (Stop Motion and Keynote);
- Digital Books and Journals (Book Creator & iBooks);
- Website Creation and Blogs (Wix, Weebly);
- Image Creation – holiday slideshows and montages;
- Digital Music production – GarageBand/Anchor;
- Audio/Podcasting – Create an audio diary of your summer holiday using Anchor;
It is our recommendation that children use their computers in an open area of the apartment and should not be used in closed bedrooms. As children become more mature and responsible, this can be negotiated at a family level.
Please take time to browse through the excellent information, videos and resources regarding digital citizenship, screen time and online safety in this Padlet compiled during the monthly meetings of the SWIS Webwise Parent Ambassador Group.
Enjoy the Holidays!
Have a relaxing holiday and try to take a positive and proactive approach to technology use by your children and help each other navigate the best way that works for your family.