Under the rubric Tech Tuesdays: Parenting in the Digital Age, York Prep Technology Coordinator Alicia Weschler designed a curriculum for parents to improve their knowledge of the cyberworld their children inhabit. These informational meetings tackled important issues confronting teens which impact their safety, education, effectiveness, and emotional well-being.
“We find that almost every student is engaged in some form of social network, but many parents are not entirely informed of the impact these websites have on their children and the consequences of participation,” said Principal Chris Durnford. “We wanted to show parents how this technology affects our students and to share with them guidelines and recommendations for prudent and productive Internet use.”
The series kicked off in October with the session “Social Networks: Friends or Foes?” After a look at how today’s new media and technology environment is so different from what’s come before, Mrs. Weschler guided parents through social networks—Facebook, MySpace, Twitter—and examined the short-and long-term benefits and dangers of membership. Parents discussed and shared tips on how to keep their children safe.
Attendees explored how to mine Google’s search engine more fully during “Google Tips and Tricks” in November. Following a brief explanation of how search engines work and how Google comes up with such relevant and thorough search results, audience members were made aware of numerous special features, sometimes hidden, which are extremely practical and enhance the online search experience.
The April gathering on “Cyberbullying” provided facts, cases, resources, and strategies to help parents recognize the forms and warning signs of electronic abuse and to guide them in how to act in case their child becomes a victim—or perpetrator—of online cruelty. Mrs. Weschler spent time highlighting the differences between traditional bullying and cyberbullying and emphasized means of prevention.
A fourth offering in February, “Superparent to the Rescue: Troubleshooting 101,” was cancelled due to inclement weather. The meeting was set to focus on computer hardware advice, suggestion for moving files between home and school, and online reference resources; most likely, it will be scheduled for the next school year. The mother of a sixth grader “won’t miss” future sessions. “I’ve learned so much from the workshops,” she said.