If you’re anything like me as a parent, you often read to keep abreast of what’s relevant to parenting in today’s rapidly changing world. And when you see the image of an iPotty you first laugh and then, you shudder. More on that later.
As a professional teacher, I’m required to stay on top of the latest instructional, classroom management and assessment techniques so that I can provide a quality education experience for my students. Trust me when I say that today’s parenting and teaching realities can be very complicated and stressful if you don’t get your priorities straight – both in the classroom and at home.
One thing I know for sure is that parents and teachers are key to creating a healthy social-emotional context for children’s optimal learning. Kids can take this learning with them for a lifetime. Parenting and teaching provide the foundation for children’s healthy development. Now more than ever, parents and teachers need to collaborate on preparing kids to face our fast-paced, globalized and digital world in ways that support healthy personal identity, social and brain development.
I have three recommended books that can support us with parenting alongside modern-day challenges and realities. But before that, have a look at the iPotty that I mentioned earlier. Check in with your own inner response to this gadget. I have my own opinions but will leave you to figure out your own.
Books to Check Out
If you’re looking to add some important titles to your must-read list, I highly recommend that you check out the following books to empower yourself for confident parenting in a globalized, media-drenched, digital world.
Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping Our Kids Human by Gloria DeGaetano
I had the honor of training with Gloria DeGaetano and have nothing but high praise for her work. She truly “gets it” as a parent and as an educator. DeGaetano clearly describes the impact of an “industry generated culture” communicated to children and teens through screen technologies. Her book connects the content and delivery of media-driven consumerist culture to research on children’s brain development. If you are wondering what the effects media immersion in a culture created by businesses has on your kid’s development and sense of personhood, this is the book to read. Parents will especially appreciate the many practical suggestions that DeGaetano offers for meeting children’s essential needs for optimal development. In an age where creativity, attachment and responsible participation in society are hot topics of discussion, DeGaetano helps us to keep our attention on how media and screens interact within the interconnected realms of parenting and our wider communities. Click here to learn more about Alice’s online discussion groups for parents on this book.
Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons to Reform Social Media Before It Re-Forms Us by Raffi Cavoukian
Personal disclosure: I have been a Raffi fan since I was a child. I have sung his songs as a teacher to my youngest students on three different continents and have enjoyed them with my own family over the years. I was moved to learn that this beloved “children’s troubadour” was sharing his written voice and perspective about social media with the world. I’m happy to introduce you to Raffi Cavoukian – the author! I recently read his book and was pleased to see that he focused on the developmental needs of children throughout the text. Cavoukian’s book arrived in my hands at a timely moment; teachers around the world are in intense conversations about how to use infotech responsibly in the classroom at various stages of child development. We teachers are learning alongside parents as we cope with the rapid pace of infotech development and its introduction to the children’s world at home and in schools. As a conscious global citizen, Cavoukian expands the dialogue about social media and children’s developmental needs to a broader global concern for the ecology of earth’s environment by asking us to consider “what we’ll buy and why”.
Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
There is a critical piece connecting families, schools and media culture and that is the peer group. It would be self-deceptive to believe that peers do not have an impact on children. This has always been the case. However, Neufeld and Maté encourage us to look at where we are today with peer groups and relationships. Without a doubt our modes of communicating have changed due to the massive changes unfolding before much of the world: internet, infotech, social media and the cultures found within these new dimensions. There are many books and news stories geared to adults to help them cope with the changing nature of work in our global economy with the rise of the digital connectivity, virtual meetings, and the entrance of Millenials/Generation Y into the workforce. If we recognize that a shift in adult relational culture is occurring in our social landscape at work and at home, why not examine the impact of the changing nature of peer culture on children and youth? Globally mobile and cross-cultural parents will find nuggets of value in the discussion of identity development and parent-child attachment. If you want to read a book that invites you to think about what interconnection and intuition can bring to an authoritative parenting style, this may be the book for you.
What are your recommended reads for empowered parenting in a digital world? Please share your tips in the comments below!