There is an increasing request for online awareness courses and lectures among elementary schools. Many institutions state that they need more material on parents as role models for children online, and request tools that can help conduct constructive and good parent meetings on the topic.
The Ombudsman in Buskerud and the Norwegian Media Authority have therefore teamed up to create a sufficient conversation tool for parents. The purpose is to promote dialogue and involvement around the topic “Digital cautiousness and parents as role models for children”.
Parents as role models for digital cautiousness
There is developed two Dialogue Mats for two different parents meetings or events a couple months apart. The intention is for parents to gain reflections and experiences they can bring back to the second meeting or event. The process around the dialogue mat is usually led by internal resources from the respective school, for instance a teacher or parent representative.
Key information about the Dialogue Mats:
- To be used during two parent meetings or events. Developed for parents of children in second or third grade.
- Examples of topics that are addressed: Privacy, Online Behaviour, Level of Freedom Online, Age Limits, and Unpleasant Content.
- Can be carried out by internal resources from the respective school (process training is recommended).
- Municipalities are encouraged to cooperate with the implementation of training and/or Dialogue Mats.
- For more information, please visit ‘Digital Dømmekraft‘.
Dialogue Mat 2
The purpose of the Dialogue Mat is to create involvement, awareness, and openness around different topics, in this case Digital Cautiousness and parents as role models. The Dialogue Mat contains tasks and questions that participants’ solve in groups. It is well structured and instructions are described on the various tasks.
Digital Cautiousness #2 focuses on parents as guides and role models for their children, for instance through the parents’ online habits.
The Dialogue Mat focuses on 5 topics:
- Parents’ online habits
The intention of this topic is to create awareness around how parents’ online habits influence the children. Children seek advice and guidance from adults. At the same time, children notice what adults do rather than what they say. As role models, it is therefore important to be aware of our own habits, in addition to what we teach our children.
- How do we speak to our children?
Kids have the right to privacy, including when it comes to what they do and watch online. But in order to be able to provide security and guidance, especially at a young age, it is important they feel safe enough to tell is what they are doing without fearing the consequences. We have to provide care and concern without being invasive. How do we do that?
- Online content
This is where we discuss what parents are most worried their children will experience online, and how best to handle negative impressions. It is easy to react in a manner that destroys future dialogue and trust between children and their parents.
- Age limits
The most important message on this topic is to convey knowledge about what age limits on social media and games/movies/TV mean. Many believe that the age limits on social media are set to protect children from its content. That is wrong. It is up to the parents to consider what they will allow their children to take part in online, or what movies or games are appropriate. It is also up to them whether their kids are allowed to use social media platforms such as Facebook or Snapchat.
- Where do we go from here?
Not everyone wants common rules and guidelines. The intention of Digital Cautiousness and the Dialogue Mat is not to set strict guidelines, but rather discuss what is best for the respective class or group. This final assignment is meant to function as a process to figure out what the respective class should do moving forward. In this task, an important objective is to make sure that all voices and perspectives are heard, in order to make decisions that benefits everyone.