Have you checked out your local Parent Teacher Association (PTA), or maybe the national PTA website? I recently had the chance to observe an excellent “Digital Families Community Event” held locally by the local PTA president, Kammi Cooper.
Kammi’s PTA Program for Horace Mann Elementary School
The program was provided by the National PTA, but tailored to the local community. It was interactive and fun for the kids and very informative for the parents. The families got to talk about screen time, creating and sharing passwords, favorite apps and social media sites, and what to share and not to share on the Internet.
Kammi was able to put on such an excellent program because she attended a PTA conference and was awarded a small grant to make this program happen. However, you don’t have to wait to benefit from the wonderful resources the National PTA has put together. I went to their website and clicked on the “Family Resources” and then “Digital Safety” buttons.
There I learned that the PTA has multiple programs sponsored by such Internet powerhouses as Google, Facebook, and AT&T. I particularly liked one called “Smart Talk” put together by LifeLock.
The Smart Talk Program
It is an online learning module you can do with your kid. It helps you answer questions such as:
- How much screen time is appropriate?
- How to determine who should “friend” or “follow” your account?
- When to share photos or videos online?
- How to respond to negative comments or posts on social media?
- Whether to use location-based services on apps?
At the end, you can print out the decisions you’ve come to and have it as a record (or kind of contract between you and your kid.) I thought it was excellent!
Go Get More Information
Raising a kid in a digital world is tough. You want them (and you) to be aware of how they spend online. You want them to be mindful of their online presence and footpring.
Check out your local PTA and see if they are hosting any of these programs. If they aren’t, why not initiate one yourself?
And keep learning. This isn’t the exact same world you grew up in!