When children start school, they gain new friends, experiences and role models. For parents, this can be a difficult time. Letting their child go under the supervision of another adult is challenging and often nerve-wracking. This can even cause a power struggle between parents and teachers. It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the same page when it comes to teaching responsible behavior. In a world increasingly driven by technology, this includes digital boundaries. Parents and teachers should act as a team and work towards consistency. This will in turn create better environments for students.
The Pew Research Center (PRC) reports that 21 million teens use the Internet. Also, 16 million have internet access at school. The PRC reports 87 percent get online while at home. Additionally, 75 percent of teens get online at someone else’s computer. Others use community centers or libraries. Therefore, children have almost constant access to technology. It’s crucial that they learn how to properly use computers, cell phones and digital devices.
For parents, monitoring your children’s online activity can help determine if they are using the Internet appropriately. If not, they could search for inappropriate content at school. This can lead to serious repercussions. If you notice your child misusing their cell phone or laptop, it may be helpful to notify their teacher of the issue. In doing so, the teacher can be more vigilant about what the student is searching for and how often they are online. However, the primary goal should be to develop digital boundaries at home. For example, you can limit screen time and set up parental controls. Helping students develop good online habits will help them stay out of trouble both at home and at school.
In the classrooms, teachers may have different opinions on technology use. Some may allow students to use it frequently with little supervision. Others may dismiss it entirely. However, it is ultimately up to the teacher how computers fit into their lesson plans. Parents may want their child use technology for convenience or to aid their learning. Having a mutual respect for one another’s authority will help parents and teachers reach a consensus on the role of technology in a child’s life.
It can be difficult for parents and teachers to agree. Ultimately, though, both parties share a mutual interest in a student’s education and wellbeing. In order to come to an agreement about technology use, parents must be willing to set boundaries that encourage appropriate behavior at school. Likewise, teachers must respect the boundaries that parents have put in place, so long as they do not inhibit the learning process for any student. Having a meeting before the school year starts will allow teachers to inform parents of how technology will be used in the classroom and what they expect from students.
Text by Melissa Lawrence