MONTREAL, OCTOBER 26, 2015- The English Montreal School Board and Marymount Academy International in NDG took on the theme of Smartphones, Sexting & Social Media; What Parents Need to Know,” at a recent evening forum.
Dr. Alissa Sklar, an expert on the issue, was the main speaker. With the digital world continuously changing, parents have grown increasingly concerned and had many questions regarding the issue and looked to Dr. Sklar for answers.
The presentation and discussion dove right into what parents should know when it comes to kids online and how to promote safe, responsible, creative and productive use of the digital age. “Curating a positive digital footprint is extremely important, making sure they build on the good stuff and that there is space for everyone online to produce in a creative positive way,” she said.
Dr. Sklar wanted to emphasize that not everything online has to be negative. “It is a great way to show what you can do in ways we as kids never had the chance to,” she said.
Dr. Sklar expressed how important it is to open the lines of communication between child and parent, that there is no such thing as privacy online. Anything that is done in a digital format cannot be assumed as private, which most people, especially kids, seem to be unaware of. Parents on hand found her extremely knowledgeable and helpful, enabling them to connect their experiences.
In addition to her academic and consulting work, Dr. Sklar can also speak to the issue as a mom of three who deals first hand with the digital age at home. “I make sure my kids think before posting things,” she said. “Mom or dad might see this so I’d better think twice. They know at some point or another I will ask to see their text messages or conversations between friends. Privacy is earned, not given. We want to be able to trust our children to be good digital citizens, but it does not come easy.”
It is clear that it takes persistence, time and energy to ensure a safe online environment. However at the end of the day the EMSB believes it is necessary and worth it in this day and age of parenting in a digital culture.