Regardless of where they live, which kind of school they attend, or how much money their parents make, there is a single thread which binds them together – virtually ubiquitous device ownership among both children and parents.The Q & A portion of my parent presentation encapsulates the parental fear and anxiety around this new thing called: digital parenting. Ideally, it means saying ‘no’ or at least saying ‘not so much.’ Digital parenting also includes asking children loads of questions and having the same conversations over and over again – in a never-ending loop.Since we don’t have parent questions for this topic – we’ll work backward.Starting with the student responses – here are the three most common categories of student responses related to parental misuse of devices and/or social media.Digital parenting and parent digital parent supervision. fit=681,497" class="wp-image-2731 aligncenter" src="https://i1com/ resize=616,450" alt="Internet Safety Speaker - Jesse Weinberger - Digital parenting and parent digital parent supervision. Although many of these comments could have been construed as fitting into our criteria here – I’ve only included and counted the comments which plainly spoke to the criteria.Your kids want you to say no to them and to yourself. Your kids want you to say no to them and to yourself. For example: The survey response from the 5th grade girl who wants her parents to know that she’s addicted to pornography could be interpreted as an SOS for parental engagement – but because her comment did not include a specific request for limits, supervision, or role model behavior – it was not included in this sample.By the time I’ve taken them through the risks and reality, including the data related to their own children – the parents in the auditorium feel out of their depth. They’ve just sat through my explaining the hundreds of ways this can go wrong with their child, in their home, and in their community.
By the way, I didn’t choose to hang out with the people in that second group – I just got stuck with them, say at a family dinner as a completely random example. That’s why we’re here right now – with me writing and you reading. One day, instigated by a student’s comment during a presentation (something like ‘my parents are way more addicted to their phones than I am’) I asked the students to add a 3rd and optional question to the survey by just jotting down a thought about of students answer the optional “parent education” question. After analyzing hundreds of thousands of lines of student data, I wondered how students viewed their parent’s knowledge of both digital tools and digital risks.Parents aren’t asking me questions about their own misuse because if they objectively saw it as misuse (I’m hoping), they would act to change it. I’m perfectly fine with my Gummy Bears addiction – and no, I don’t see anything weird about stocking five extra bags in the pantry, thank you very much.Like any addiction or at least seemingly unstoppable repeated pattern of behavior, parents who misuse their own devices or social media seem to have a lack of self-awareness of both how obvious the parent’s misuse is to their children AND how the parent’s misuse could be impacting their children and the health of the family overall.