Parental engagement around digital issues has presented constant challenges in this digital era. Studies have demonstrated that parents are fearful and anxious about most things linked to their children’s online activities, which is having a profound impact on their engaging with notions of digital citizenship. Parents themselves seem to equate being a good digital parent as restricting technology. When we discuss internet and citizenship with parents, they seem to feel that they have been completely left behind in the debate. Even regarding current virtual learning environments that invite them to communicate with teaching staff, they do not feel comfortable with technological environment from schools.
Implications for Policy or Practice
In a connected, multi-screen environment, which is unregulated to a great extent, the parents’ role in protecting and empowering children is both fundamental and more demanding.
It would be fruitful to identify an effective means of reaching parents and getting them to engage in the digital citizenship debate, as it seems crucial to develop their support and advocacy in a topic that touches the very roots of society.
Parents fundamentally need to provide a home environment that matches the school environment built on trust, understanding, and a shared vision and parental engagement should be at both levels: in learning but also in signing consent forms or responsible-use policies.
Consequently, they also need to get involved in school privacy pledges.