This morning I spoke to Belinda on Premier Gospel – the full show can be found online, but here’s my extract (from about 20 mins in):
My 15 min notes in preparation for the session:
Tell us about your book Raising Children in a Digital Age
Title = key – don’t need to be a parent to consider your place in raising the next generation * church as family for ‘Day by Day with God’ … not necessarily a blood family – takes a village to raise a child, etc. Interested in who is responsible – parents, yes, but also government, social media platforms, government, extended family, those who shape policy, etc..
Although 2014 – written on principles so although chapter 3 in particular will age quickly … core to that includes ‘conversation’, and the fact we should be scared of it ‘enjoy best, avoid worst’ – we’ve worried about every new form of tech.
Tesco clubcard… we swap our data every day – it’s all about what it’s worth in exchange.
What inspired you to write it?
More who – Ali Hull from Lion, after hearing me speak at an event … thought as a non-parent wouldn’t have much to say, but actually I’m able to listen to that wider range of voices, rather than the one parent who knows what’s worked for them. Was a sense that people were not engaging with social media as seen as a ‘scary thing’ that kids ‘naturally knew how to use’ so this is designed to show the shape of it.. It’s not a press the button book, it’s think about the environment – as much as any other environment and how safely steer child through it without throwing baby out with bathwater…
Social media often gets a bad rap when it comes to its influence on children and young people more generally. Do you think this is fair?
Every new technology has this, Socrates re writing, parents when the telephone was introduced, etc… This does not mean it’s not without it’s problems … the more we are aware of how it works, the better! There are definitely some things we need to look at – as users, as shapers of that space (there is tech determinism and social shaping), and keep questioning the social media platform makers, the algorithm writers (and get involved in shaping that space as experts of the space)..
A lot of the bad rap is the context – the pressure from other things which social media may help amplify – media headlines do not help calm this … causes kids to think they should keep what they doing away from adults, etc. when we want us to be the first they come to…
That Amsterdam art photo..
Cyberbullying – the digital pile on – use the shape of digital to arrange positive get togethers – can stop things in tracks…
Do you have any tips on how to protect our kids from the negative aspects of social media?
Same as wouldn’t throw child in pool without armbands, park without being with them… do it for them, show them how to do it, be with them whilst they do it, then trust them to do it on their own but be there for them to talk about it.
Lot of anxiety about screentime/addiction – quite trendy at the moment, but the best quality research focuses on quality of action (not all screentime being equal) – and consider that if outside world not seen as safe (driven to things, etc.) then kids will go where their friends are – online. Would you consider a book as something that can be addictive? See work at LSE.
Consider the age can join – 13 for most (though WhatsApp is 16) and message giving if let on their own account earlier… had friends who kept child’s password til 16. Also see social media, etc. as part of balanced life – maybe times, charge phone downstairs, etc.. ice pop suggestions, Geocaching, Pokemon, etc…
Brain shaping, so does any new task – how do we use it well – see beyond tech to creativity, companionship, content, accessibility for those with disabilities (autism, blindness, etc. = more inclusive)
If a lack of communication is already a big issue within a family- would you say they should detox from social media or find ways to use it to bring them closer together?
Definitely a fan of doing stuff together, and talking about what doing online, rather than seeing it as some wild west. Life is not risk free, nor is being online. Need to look at our HABITS, e.g. friend who didn’t check phone til after 9am, or put phone down when get in house (not seeing it as a bad thing, or even addictive).
Think about fruits of the spirit – peace, joy, love, patience, etc and how apply that online (would love more sermons on how to use digital well – maybe that’ll be a topic for Premier Dig Conf in Nov)… e.g. respond slower…