‘Parenting in the Digital Age- Porus Primary Gives Parents the 101
In acknowledging the need for parenting skills to change with the advancement of the technological era, the Parenting Club at the Porus Primary School coordinated a seminar recently that welcomed dozens of parents from the community and neighbouring schools, empowering them and offering tips on sound parenting.
Being in existence for over 15 years, the club was formed in part to educate parents on some aspects of parenting to help minimise some of the challenges faced at home, school, and in the community, in addition to empowering parents to help children develop holistically.
Principal of the Porus Primary School Teddesia Hibbert-Hayles revealed that the club has had a long-standing relationship with the school and is expected to continue making a huge impact on the school community, with additional external support.
"The club has been partnering with the school for years, and apart from assisting parents, they have also been integral in motivating students and rewarding top achievers and disciplined students. As we go forward, I want us to continue joining hands and hearts so that we can continue to work together and make Porus Primary a better school, and by extension, Jamaica, a better country."
Representative of the Ministry of Education Information and Youth Region 5 Rosette Hanson applauded the parenting club and encouraged parents to become tech savvy.
"At times, parents, you will have to build barriers as you will have to be monitoring what is happening in this digital age. I know many of you are not as versed in the technological world but you will have to learn"
The parents were guided on how to monitor a child's TV time, taking into consideration programmes with a parental guidance rating; and on how to get a better understanding of what cable packages entail; and on how to block stations if necessary.
"You are the ones bringing it into the home, so you will be required to monitor it to ensure that the children are not exposed to problematic content. As children get older, they become smarte. Be very careful when coding. It's not to be taken lightly," stated public relations and corporate communications specialist at the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica Don Dobson.
Many are of the belief that once a programme is rated 'G' it is OK for a child to watch it unsupervised, but Dobson said this should not be so as fantasy, violence, or inappropriate content may still appear, especially in some cartoons.
He added that while traditional media may be a bit easier to manage, serious effort is needed in monitoring children in the digital age of smart phones, tablets, and other technological devices.
"We don't manage these platforms, and so what we have to do is encourage media literacy in the schools and show children how to manage themselves on these platforms. Things that are restricted on TV may be available on the Internet, and so they access it via the phones or the tablets. Make sure you are aware of these things and you provide them with the information they need. Make Google your best friend by searching for tips on how to supervise children's access to media."
He added, "What you do is not to scare them, but to help them be more responsible for their actions. It could make it harder for them to get a job, to get a visa, to get into school in the future based on their social-media use. You have to be there to guide them and show them the way."
The role of a parent can be one of the most difficult, but parent from the Christiana Leased Primary School Brandy Wilson advised that parents must try to be effective.
"Living in this digital age is not easy for us parents, for many of our children know more about technology than we do. But we must still try to understand the risk our children face living in this age and learn how to monitor and guide them."