Carolina from the Big Ocean Global Strategy team contributed to a panel discussion at the Digital Citizenship Conference in Provo, Utah in November 2017. Here is the report.
Digital Citizenship Summit: Provo Utah, 2017:
This was the 3rd annual summit hosted by EPIK Deliberate Digital. The theme for this year was “Expand:” expand the conversation around kids and technology, expand networks to do more good, expand our shared impact toward a more Positive DigCit (Digital Citizenship) culture. This was one of many worldwide events. Similar events happened in Mexico, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia, Ireland. Present at this conference were representatives across different sectors, including parents, educators, tech developers, youth, religious leaders, non profit leaders, business owners, and community leaders.
Focus for the conference:
There were many youth in attendance, some as young as 10. The main focus was to include the youth, and encourage their abilities to be the positive digital changes that set the tone for a more positive tech culture. The major themes that surfaced from this is that deliberate parents can use tech to build relationships and connect.
Big Ocean Women involvement:
We have been interested in participating in this discussion from an organizational and movement standpoint, but also as parents. We have heard from countless women who are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with the idea of parenting in this digital age. The changing technological landscape is tugging at the attention of both parents and children. Family members are increasingly disconnected and family life culture is suffering. Many women are feeling lost as they themselves try to navigate the increasing tech saturation, let alone teach their children how to navigate successfully. That’s why discussions that came from this conference are of timely importance to our cottage members.
Carolina Allen was asked to speak about these very issues on 2 panel discussions focusing ion raising children in a tech saturated culture. It was encouraging to see so many people from across sectors understand and empathize with the challenges facing parents today. They were eager to hear from our perspective, and dive in to explore solutions.
Positive solutions and reframe:
1. Great content available to help parents:
I was able to connect with many important leaders and entrepreneurs who are creating content to help parents navigate this.
Cristina Jones Alexander from Educate Empower Kids, who wrote 30 days of Sex Talks, and Noah’s New Phone, books about having meaningful discussions with children about intimacy and using technology for good.
2. Involve the youth:
One of the most special highlights of the event were all of the free community events and the Youth Extravaganza that highlighted many youth harnessing tech to do service, humanitarian work and many other good and uplifting things. It was inspiring to see the truly broad and global impact kids can make when they use the values taught at home to influence others.
3. Science proves parents are still essential:
Dr. David Hawkins shared that healthy parent/child attachment is still central to the lives of kids. He essentially shared that we hold the missing pieces to their hearts that no amount of tech can ever replace that. Addictive behaviors and tendencies are due to a lack of connection. We need to be aware of why kids are choosing to live in a virtual reality as opposed to building deep connections with those right in front of them. He discussed risks and protective factors that might impact digital behavior.
4. Digital Citizenship as the solution:
Parents and educators can teach and mentor a digital citizenship-based education where the child can master self regulation and strengthen their own internal filters.
As parents and within our cottages, its important to work from a place of abundance and optimism as opposed to fear and over-control, which is exhausting and can further strain our relationships and connections which then can amplify the problem of tech addiction etc.
There are great programs out there that can help train cottage leaders and members if this is something that they are interested in. Utilizing technology to further the cause of good is essential to not only curb the tide of addiction by giving children something they can focus on that is good and positive. This in turn can help mend relationships and fortify parent/child and family connection.