The impact of digital technologies on our lives continues to increase day by day. It has allowed us to do things previously unimaginable and reduced the distances between the people of the world as it is so easy for us to be connected at any time and anywhere.
Over the past year at BIS HCMC we have introduced the Seesaw and iSAMS applications as a way to keep parents better informed about all aspects of school life and allow them a window into their child’s classroom. Additionally, as a school we invest a lot of teaching time throughout the year to Digital Citizenship. However, we know that the best results are always achieved when the messages that we are conveying at school are also being reinforced in the home environment.
Digital technologies are now embedded in every lesson at BIS and this allows us as teachers to deliver more interactive and engaging lessons and allows our students to connect globally, access immense resource databases and create digital content that is straight off the pages of Science Fiction novels. As part of ICT and PSHE curriculums, we spend time looking at the ways that we can develop healthy digital habits and become responsible and respectful digital citizens.
Our students have greater access to digital devices outside the classroom and we want them to have the confidence and knowledge to make the right choices with regards to their digital wellbeing. In the younger years, they need a lot more guidance and support from teachers and parents. They should be using devices in shared areas under supervision. When issues arise, they need to have a kind and calm adult talking them through the situation and supporting them to make the right choices. When the dialogue about digital citizenship is open and honest between a parent and child there is a greater chance that they will come to you for help when they need it rather than hide a problem that they are facing. As your child grows the level of support needs to stay the same, but they need to be gradually given more responsibility to make their own choices.
As a parent there are several key areas that you need to consider with regards to your child’s online development:
- Screen Time & Media Balance – How much time are they spending online and is it productive or entertainment?
- Connections & Relationships – Who are they talking to online and how are they communicating digitally?
- Sharing of Information – What are they sharing online and where are they sharing it?
- Kindness & Respect – Are they acting in a manner that is positive and kind?
- Ethical & Legal – Are they acting within the law? Are they respecting Copyright?
The way you manage your child’s digital time at home will differ depending on the age of your child and your family. There is not one hard and fast answer, but in situations where there has been the biggest impact there has been a consistent and clear approach from parents, an open dialogue between parent and child and a whole family approach. Take time to discuss the issues as a family, create a family agreement as to how devices will be used and make sure that you are consistent throughout the process.
Mr Luke Dyer, STEAM Coordinator & Primary ICT Lead Teacher