Parent Association Talk Recap: Digital Dilemmas for ourselves and our young people

On Tuesday 29 October, the second Parent Association supported talk, titled ‘Digital Dilemmas – a parent’s guide to keeping children safe in the digital world’ was held. As part of the school’s wider commitment to wellbeing, the aim of these talks is to build positive relationships and strengthen connection across the AISHK community, whilst offering useful tools to keep on top of the ever-changing landscape of parenting today.

Around 60 parents attended the talk which was co-facilitated by our School Psychologists Bernadette Spencer and Jean McPherson and Tara Bennett from the Wild Heart Project.  The talk recognised that the digital impact day-to-day can affect all of us somehow, at some time and somewhere, no matter how prepared or safe we think we are.

As part of the information sharing, Mark Hemphill’s Head of School message from 6 September 2019 was given to the parents to take away and consider: Information from the Susan McLean (Cybercop) student sessions held in Term 3 was shared with parents, so they can speak the same language with their children at home. As part of this, Susan MacLean’s ‘Three R’s’ or ‘Rules of online safety’ were emphasised to parents:  Respect, Responsibility and Reputation.

Parents were given insights into some of the psychology behind phone and app development and into the brain science behind why some digital behaviours and habits might be challenging to change. The importance of adhering to age limits regarding content and screen time was also discussed, as well as the importance of individual families setting up their own guidelines and routines for what is and isn’t acceptable use of technology in their home – for themselves and for guests.

Three top tips were shared with parents for consideration:

  • Consider your own technology use
  • The router is your domain!
  • ‘In our family….’

Four areas were highlighted to parents as areas we need to protect:

  • Sleep
  • Family time
  • Focus
  • Mental health and wellbeing

There were moments of great humour, understanding and appreciation for the challenges and opportunities we all experience when parenting and walking through the digital world ourselves and with our young people. Personal anecdotes were shared, questions were asked, and many came to moments of realisation.

Thanks again to the Parent Association for supporting two Parent Talks in 2019. Special thanks to Tara Bennett from the Wild Heart Project for sharing her knowledge and insights through our student wellbeing programmes and with our wider parent community in 2019.

Kiely Murphy | Director of Student Wellbeing, Careers Advisor