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Parenting in the Digital Age
May 13, 2022 at 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
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Join Isabela Granic – parent of two 16-year old boys and developmental psychologist studying tech and wellbeing – as we consider the marvelous and mysterious world of parenting in our digital age. In this third salon in the Our Hybrid Lives series, we’ll focus on both millenia-old and completely novel parenting challenges that are top-of-mind for a new generation of parents.
This salon is for anyone personally or professionally interested in the intersection of parenting and technology, particularly social technologies. If you’re a parent yourself, if you’re hoping to become one, if you’re curious about the cultural consequences of parenting in the digital age, or if you’re a young person yourself who has just emerged into adulthood and curious about your own experiences with your parent(s), come join this discussion. We’ll dig ever-deeper into a huge swath of parenting questions, hopes, anxieties, and sure-fire wins, as they relate to raising children in our current (and future) online-offline hybrid lives.
The salon will begin (and largely dispense) with the myths and media-hype that condemn all technology for its terrifying effects on children’s development. When we take a measured look at the parenting-related research that addresses the digital realities of today’s developmental landscape, more questions than answers will emerge – and that’s when the real fun begins!
After covering the psychological research, we will quickly move on to discuss sociological, anthropological, and personal perspectives that can provide useful lenses to deepen our discussions. We’ll consider ongoing, informal experiments that are emerging all over the world: families deciding to dive head-long into off-the-grid communal living, parents allowing their children full-reign over their digital choices from birth, families using apps and AI-enabled tech to out-source the most mundane elements of parenting, and so on. We’ll consider parenting roles, how they may have changed over the course of the last two decades, and how much technology has both enabled and constrained the flourishing of these varied roles.
One of our goals will be to cover a wide variety of parenting philosophies that have been relevant historically, and examine whether they still apply in our current age of digital augmentation. For example, is the capacity to “monitor” or implement high-level “surveillance” tech to protect our teenagers from serious danger ever justifiable given the breach in trust that’s at the core of this implementation? Is the near-ubiquitous parenting advice to join the online social spaces your children belong to still ideal or are there important constraints parents should consider? Are there any general rules about how long is too long for “screen time”? Should those rules be unilaterally established by parents? Should kids be consulted on “screen time” rules and does “screen time” mean anything at all in this day and age? Should parents always advocate climbing trees and rough-and-tumble play as the healthier socio-emotional choice than playing video games? Are most parenting issues the same, or dramatically different, than those we were concerned about 10, 50, 150 years ago? When is texting in front of your kid neglect vs just another example of a busy, distracted parent?
Finally, we expect that our discussions will make it clear that parenting in the digital age requires a whole lot more than discussing online safety. We’ll spend the last hour wrestling with how parents can help their children living in the digital age think about building reliable friendships, finding and contributing to trustworthy communities, and exploring their identity, core values, and purpose. Join us in this broad discussion as we attempt to focus mostly on effective, optimistic approaches to parenting in this next iteration of our hybrid lives.
- Great to read or watch pre-salon:
- Parenting in the Digital Age | Sonia Livingstone | (12 min TED talk)
- The dangers of distracted parenting
- Pew Research on parenting approaches and concerns about their children’s digital devices
- How and When to Limit Kids’ Tech Use
- An effective optimism approach to parenting in the digital age | Isabela Granic (lecture at Queen’s University)