Shifting from Monitoring to Mentoring with the Parent Book Club

Shifting From Monitoring to Mentoring with the Parent Book Club

By Pedagogical Coach, PreK-8, Shelley Roy

Parents today are challenged by raising digital natives – kids who are plugged-in and active online from a young age, who are "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, video games and the internet. Many adults worry that children are addicted, detached, or distracted by their digital devices. While discussing the book Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner, Gulliver parents engaged in vigorous dialogue during the Fall Parent Book Club.

At the core of Heitner's message is the idea that being a mentor to children is more important than monitoring their actions and devices. Mentors start from a place of empathy and recognize the need to observe kids in their habitat in order to better understand their experiences. Parents shared their favorite recommendations from the book, which included:

  • Asking permission before posting your child's photo
  • Forming family agreements around devices and use of the internet
  • Create bottom-line rules such as parent approval for apps
  • Establishing device-free times

Throughout our sessions, we recognized that our children face the same issues we faced as children. Now, however, technology has amplified the need for conversations around how to best manage growing up in the digital age. Darlene Duran, Gulliver's educational technology integrator, shared tips and tricks on privacy settings and parental controls.

Throughout our Parent Book Club journey, we all strengthened the partnership between parents and educators in raising responsible digital citizens. As Heitner suggests, "Let's stand up. Let's be mentors. It's up to us."

Stay tuned for the next Parent Book Club, where we'll cover The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively. We welcome all parents to participate!