Reflection and the importance of it is something that I´ve learned to value during the ONL171 course. In topic 1 the reflection was about the digital me. My footprint and imprint in a digital world. We were given a chance to contemplate on our behavioral pattern online, digital literacy and residency in a digital world.
I think of myself as digitally literate or maybe I should say I thought of myself as being digitally literate. I am curious in to trying new tools, partly since it part of my job, but also in trying to be a hip and modern parent, trying to keep up with my children who are entering their teens.
However during topic 1 I started thinking and analyzing the digital me and it made me wonder; what am I doing, how am I doing it and why do I chose not to do certain things online. And maybe most important how does my behavior and attitude affect my children?
I watch my children. For them there is no life without internet, computers, smartphones, PlayStation and social media. The first thing they ask when arriving to a new place is “Is there free wifi?”. It is part of their society, a way of living and as natural as playing football or riding a bike. They don´t think twice about putting themselves out there. They don´t even consider the “big-brother-is-watching-you” syndrome that people in my generation and older sometimes refers to. Their counter question is “Why wouldn´t you want to leave a digital footprint?”. I can only lean back and note that they have for sure moved in, unpacked and started to decorate in their residency while I´m to some extent is still standing in the hallway contemplating whether or not I should hang up my coat. This is collides with my role as a parent. A person who should be a role model and give advice on life and share experiences so that they eventually can make their own decisions. Yuhyun Park wrote an interesting article for World Economic Forum, on this subject and the importance of equipping our children with digital intelligence.
In the midst of topic 1 and with this article in mind I attended a parent-teacher meeting at one of my sons schools. As we were about to finish a question was raised by one of the parents concerning our children’s addiction to mobiles. The parent suggested that the school ought to have a mobile free day once a week or at least once a month. My first instinct was, like I guess most of the parents in the room, that this was a good idea. The children need to learn the social skills of talking face-to-face. But then I stopped and thought to myself “why do I consider face-to-face more important than engaging online”? Maybe because that´s how I learned to engage with others when I was in the same age. And it hit me –by pushing our values and attitudes towards digitalism and the use of social media on to our children we become that stubborn little child lying on the floor crying and refusing to move. Our children on the other hand are already residents but are often left adrift without escort in daunting and unknown digital world. By refusing to engage or try to understand what they are doing online we as parents don´t take the responsibility that we actually have in raising our children. So are we really helping them or aren’t we instead fooling our self when suggesting that they should put down their phones? Should the schools and we as parents instead, like the article mentioned, teach our children on digital intelligence to equip them so that they can dodge the pitfalls, be safe and aware to eventually be able create their own digital self. As a bonus we might actually learn something useful ourselves.
(as a footnote… I didn´t raise my hand for YES when voting on this suggestion and I was glad to see that other parents like me chose to vote against it).
Yuhyun Park, 8 digital skills we must teach our children. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/8-digital-skills-we-must-teach-our-children/
Doug Belshaw, The 8 c´s of digital literacy, http://dougbelshaw.com/blog/2009/08/04/the-8-cs-of-digital-literacy/