Published on February 24th, 2014 | by YouParent


Always On? Raising Media Savvy Kids in our Digital Age

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed in the ever-changing, ever-growing worlds of technology and media?  Many parents today struggle to keep up and stay ahead of the kids.  With gadgets like cell phones that can access the internet, video game consoles as powerful as yesterday’s home computer, and constant exposure to media in our communities, how can you make sure that your child is only being exposed to appropriate content?

This March we continued our efforts to connect parents and guardians to our YouParent program, which uses community supports and evidence-based research to help parents navigate the challenges of raising healthy successful kids.  Community members joined longtime media educator Dr. Rob Williams and Burlington High Schools counselor Margo Austin at the Fletcher Free Library on March 18th for an evening workshop on changing technology and media and its impact on kid’s developing brains.

Since we know not everyone who wants to attend can always make it, here are a few highlights from their presentation:

  • We are part of an “emergent media culture.”  There is new, emerging and rapidly changing media all the time.  It will be impossible as a parent to keep up with all of it.  This is okay.
  • The goal of new media is to keep people “connected to the feed all the time”, “to be on all the time.”  This can limit the best kind of creative learning and healthy brain  development for kids.  Make sure they have lots of time for creative play and “quiet time.”
  • Parents should MODEL good media behavior for our kids.
  • Parents should MONITOR our kid’s “media diet.”
  • BE PRESENT when they are watching TV, on the computer,  and playing video games.  Ask them “why do you like this?” Experience it with them and then:

HAVE CONVERSATIONS with our kids early and often about media.  Help PROVIDE CONTEXT to what they are seeing, hearing, experiencing.

About the Author

YouParent is a program of Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community. We are a coalition of Burlington residents, businesses, schools, colleges, parents, youth, medical professionals, students, social services, law enforcement officials, court representatives and more. We recognize that the damages of drugs, alcohol abuse and tobacco effect us all and we work together to create a healthier environment in Burlington, Vermont.

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