What should I do if I am concerned about my child’s online activities? How much screen time is too much? Does my child know how to cultivate an appropriate online identity? How can I put limits in place now that my child already has a full online presence? What is Snapchat, and why do kids love it so much?
Contemplating these never-ending questions and searching for answers can make a parent’s head spin. Enter Common Sense Media. An “organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology,” CSM works to “empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”
This year, Georgetown Day School enrolled in CSM’s Supporter Schools program with an eye toward raising awareness and providing ideas for students, teachers, and parents in the areas of digital citizenship and media literacy. As part of this partnership, CSM and GDS team up for an annual presentation. On March 20, Georgetown Day School and Common Sense Media hosted a parent/student night titled, “What Families Need to Know about Each Other’s Digital Lives,” led by Barbara Huth, Education Program Manager.
During the evening, we explored the ways young people can benefit from the connections they make online, what Common Sense Media’s research has to say about the digital lives of tweens, teens, and adults, some of the most popular social media apps, how families can agree upon digital guidelines (for adults and children), and the fluid way children think about their digital and face-to- face worlds. While exploring these topics, Barbara encouraged conversations and cooperation between parents and students as they discussed their digital media habits.
In the end, no one presentation or resource can provide all the answers for students, teachers, and parents. We know that informed, intentional, ongoing conversations are key to crafting an atmosphere of trust. When students trust the adults in their lives, they are more likely to turn to us when they find themselves in uncertain territory.
The people and resources provided by Common Sense Media will surely be an important asset as GDS continues to expand our programming for students, teachers, and parents in the areas of digital citizenship and media literacy.