If you’ve been following the journey of my book Raising Children in A Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst, which sucked up most of my evenings, weekends, and holidays last year – the proofs arrived yesterday:
A Chance to Say Thank You…
… to Ali Hull for first commissioning this book and for encouragement and correction in the editing process, and to Pete Phillips, Andy Byers, Rich Wyld, Penny Bissell, Tim Hutchings, and Kate Bruce (my CODEC team at Durham University) for providing me with links and enthusiastic encouragement.
I’ve enjoyed the support from my Facebook and Twitter communities, through feedback, suggested links, and distributing the questionnaire. Heartfelt thanks to the 120 anonymous people who replied to it. I’ve relished feedback from speaking engagements and blog posts that has helped develop the focus and advice within this book, and ongoing encouragement from former colleagues at the University of Winchester, particularly Martin Polley and Joyce Goodman, who developed my capacity for sustained writing with my PhD, Tansy Jessop, who has encouraged the continued development of my writing skills since, and Yaz El-Hakim who afforded many e-learning opportunities.
I’ve particularly appreciated the opportunities for early chats with Marcus Leaning (Head of Media & Film, University of Winchester), Penny Fuller (Children & Youth Development Officer, Methodist Church), and Maggie Barfield (Children’s Publishing List, Scripture Union), and ongoing thought processes with fellow Social Media Consultant Bryony Taylor. I’ve valued many offline conversations with those in the Cranmer Hall/Wesley Study Centre community – including big hugs from Merry Evans – where many are wrestling with these issues day by day with their own children, in the midst of busy lives.
I also want to thank Leanne and Darren Bell (we first connected on Twitter), who gave me not only a great day out at Alnwick Castle and lots of chats about children and social media, but also the opportunity to observe three children of differing ages engaging with digital media in really positive ways. Siân and Chris Lawton, Jennifer and Andrew Riddlestone, Justine and Matt McNinch, Pen Andrews, Geoff and Helen Hobbs, Jon and Kate Whale and Nicky Robinson have also given me plenty of opportunity to get involved in how they manage their children at work and play both online and offline. Thanks also to Louise Upchurch for the teacher’s perspective, and to Paul Windo (Urban Saints) for the youth leader’s.
As always, I am grateful to friends and family for support, encouragement, time with nieces and nephews, and time out – especially my parents, who have unfailingly supported, challenged, and encouraged me through good times and bad; my cousin Hannah, who provides great conversation and feedback along with a sofa bed for trips to London; and the Hitchens/Beresfords, who have been my honorary Winchester family for several years (and whose old dishwasher has made the writing process much easier!).
I also want to make a special mention of Tracey Hume, who drove me around to find my new home, and my new neighbours in Durham, Pat and Fred, with their friends John and Ang, who have sought to motivate me by helping me manage my garden, alongside various “Have you finished that book yet?” pokes. These have also been particularly appreciated from Sara Batts (hard-stare specials), Sheridan Voysey, Vicky Walker, Maggi Dawn, Emma Giles, Mary Jackson, Christina Macleod, Karen Neal, Emma Lowe, Melanie Cunningham, Pam Smith, and Paul and Pam Webster – along with ice-pops from Beth Weedon, and years of encouragement from Andrew Graystone!
Last, and not least, I ask forgiveness of all those who have chatted with me over the years and whose names I have failed to mention.
I’d love to talk to more of you online, so join me on Twitter (@digitalfprint // @drbexl) with tag #digitalparenting.
See more on Digital Fingerprint, and please do help me share the knowledge with others – I’ve not written this to get rich or famous, but to give parents the confidence to allow their children to make the best of online opportunities.
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.