This month marks Parenting for a Digital Future’s two-year anniversary. Since our launch in 2015, we have been working to bring you the latest research and commentary about children, families and digital media. In this we have been helped by a generous group of guest bloggers – representing cutting-edge research from around the world and enabling our desire to reflect parenting in all its cultural diversity.
We aim to shed light on the lives of parents and children in the “digital age”. So, we considered what the viral video of the ‘BBC interview Dad’ tells us about the depiction of parenting online, and how parents turn to the internet (or sometimes away from it) when they face serious adversity in their lives. We reported on how and why parents’ own digital skills and values matter – showing that more skilled and confident parents are better placed to help their children maximise opportunities and minimize risks online. We also contributed to a new infographic from the Connected Learning Alliance to help parents balance between screen time hopes and fears, and insisted upon the methodological importance of considering digital media when conducting research about children’s identities and relationships.
Continuing to report findings from The Class, we located in ethnographic context the ways in which young people use screens and digital media in their everyday lives, and we discussed how to research learning in the context of ‘play and playfulness’, and the formation of learner identities over time.
Guest posters explored the dynamic between different family types in Jamaicaand a parent’s role in their child’s life online, how miners in Chile parent at a distance through social media, and the importance of an iPad for a Syrian refugee family whose son has Autism. Given the barriers to employment in the creative industries, we asked why it is so difficult for disadvantaged young people to find creative jobs and what educators might do to help. We also considered policy interventions aimed at increasing access and digital literacy, including a review of the 2016 US National Education Technology plan.
Privacy, and how it is understood, protected, and sometimes infringed – including by the Internet of Things, classroom management tools, or even parents ‘sharenting’ on behalf of their children – continues to be a common worry. So, too, are the specific opportunities and risks of digital media. We have explored what smart phones mean for parent-teenager communication, what toddlers learn from tablets, and how social media might be analysed by A-level students. Research on parenting can help in identifying pitfalls, strategies for digital media at home, involvement in a children’s online world, engaging in after-school programmes, and understanding the inseparable nature of a child’s online and offline life.
We have lots more exciting content coming up in the next few months – from emerging insights from our book (!) as we write it, to our new project on “making” by young children, to guest posts from India, Sweden and China and on topics ranging from resources for fathers online to how parents display ‘good parenting’ in their children’s lunchboxes.