What is your school doing to inform parents of internet safety, media balance, and learning with technology? What are you doing, as an educator, to provide ongoing information so parents are learning how to “monitor” their child(ren)’s technology use at home? Just as we did not grow up in the digital age, the parental community in each of our schools did not either. They are just as unequipped and unaware as we are when it comes to digital citizenship.
As an educator, it is imperative we are knowledgeable and stay up to date with how to develop our students to be responsible online users. Much of what we do with our students is online and can be overwhelming, ensuring they make the right choices and be informed users of the internet. Many of our students are currently developing an online reputation that will impact their future. Just as we are learning how to teach this to our students, parents need to learn what steps they can take to keep their child(ren) safe and responsible when they are at home. Common Sense Media has many resources to help us teach and reach our parents in a variety of ways. The beginning of the school year creates many opportunities for parents to be in our schools; whether it is “meet the teacher”, “parent orientation” or parent university events that tend to be centered around various topics or curriculum. Here are some simple ways to inform parents at these events.
- Create an eye-catching poster highlighting a booth for parents to stop and collect some simple handouts that are already created for you to give them. Check out the resources to select the ones most appropriate for the age. https://www.commonsense.org/education/toolkit/family-engagement-resources
- At your parent orientation, a simple way to start the conversation of technology use is to discuss the signed Responsible Use Procedures, what each component means, and the internet safety lessons we teach our students. Provide a couple of tips in your presentation about what they could do at home and conversations they should have with their child(ren). Share how you plan to teach and reinforce digital citizenship throughout the year and how you will inform parents of ways they can reinforce it at home. This Common Sense Media article has 5 talking points they suggest for you to share at your parent orientation: https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/5-talking-points-about-tech-for-your-back-to-school-night?j=7421878&sfmc_sub=170720581&l=2048712_HTML&u=134013455&mid=6409703&jb=200&utm_source=edu_nl_20190827&utm_medium=email
- talk about tech
- talk about tools
- talk about expectations
- talk about privacy
- talk about parent-teacher communication
- Another way to reach our parents is through newsletters, school/teacher websites or blogs. Create a section that gives parents a tip a week to keep their child(ren) safe online. If a lesson you are doing that week requires students to communicate online, share a couple of tips about appropriate ways to communicate online.
- October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This is another perfect opportunity to share those online tips for parents to learn what cyberbullying is, the effects of cyberbullying and how to deal with their child if they are either being bullied or are bullying another child. Common Sense Media provides a toolkit already prepared for you whether it is through your newsletter, handouts or an event at your school. https://www.commonsense.org/education/toolkit/audience/family-engagement-cyberbullying
Some of these events may have already come and gone at your school, but don’t let that deter you from starting today. Start including tips on your website or newsletters. Your parents will thank you.