Inspiring Your Child to be a Force For Good in the Digital World
By Jamie Siggard
We live in a unique time. Many people refer to this time as the *Information Age. We are surrounded by laptops, iPhones, tablets, watches, and virtual assistants that are always at our beckoning call. With so many devices for accessing information, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of this age. At times, I’ve felt completely strained by the all-consuming influence technology seems to have. Pornography, fake news, and rude, boisterous opinions are constantly competing for our attention. On occasion, I find myself allowing technology to dictate my time and emotional state, simply because of the flippant attention I give it.
However, we also live in an incredible time! We almost have the world right at our fingertips. We have access to limitless information, instant communication with people all over the world, online education platforms, opportunities to fundraise or bring awareness to a cause, etc. We can change the world for good like never before.
It’s important to help our kids recognize technology itself is completely neutral. It’s neither good nor bad. How they’ll use it, whether for good or bad, is their choice. We can and we must teach them to choose wisely and with intention.
Here are 5 ways we can use technology to change the world for good:
What keeps your child up at night? Maybe it’s their concern for the Leatherback Turtle; they are nearly extinct, after all. Perhaps they’re worried about the increasing pollution, poverty, or unrest. Whatever it may be, they can use technology to bring awareness to their passions and concerns. Consider the following ideas your child could implement to help bring awareness through *social media.
- Create and maintain a Facebook group, and invite friends to join it.
- Follow pages of interest, and share content with friends.
- Post a video on the “story” feature. Discuss the concern or passion, and invite followers to take action in a specific way.
Through a vast array of sources, including email, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, text message, and Marco Polo, instant communication is easier than ever.
When your child’s neighborhood pal moves across the country, the goodbye may not be as devastating knowing they have many tools to keep in touch. Encourage your children to keep in touch with distant friends, family, and loved ones through online communication. However, while encouraging online communication, be sure to also emphasize the importance of face-to-face communication by supporting your child’s involvement in group dating, parties, clubs, and extracurricular activities. Make it clear online communication shouldn’t deter from real-life interaction.
As a family, discuss the online communication tools allowed in your home. Be aware of the different communication platforms and their potential vices.
Use Online Education Resources
*E-learning has transformed the way people can obtain a formal education. There are various degrees, courses, “how-to” videos, informative articles, and certifications available online through accredited sources. Check out Khan Academy, Jam, and E-learning for Kids. No matter your child’s interest, they are bound to find opportunities with technology to learn and grow in their particular passions.
Way back when, fundraising involved knocking on doors to collect funds for your cause. While this method is still practical and worthwhile, technology has broadened the scope of possibility. GoFundMe is one of many online *crowdfunding platforms that make fundraising simple.
Is your neighbor going through a costly cancer treatment? Does your child have high hopes to save the ocean from pollution? Consider fundraising for a cause you care about.
Who are you and what do you stand for? Use technology to share bits of inspiration, positive humor, stories, and important moments to help others get to know you. Our book Petra’s Power to See is written to help children recognize the importance and power of being authentic and consistent in the way they represent themselves online and in person. In our efforts to encourage authenticity, we should help children understand the following (all of these are covered in Petra):
- Real news vs. fake news
- Media Illusions (computer-enhanced images, etc.)
- Deconstructing Images
- Their “Power to See” messages in images and media
As we intentionally use technology for good, we can help change the world. Help your child be a wise steward of technology, and help them recognize their ability to do good.
To continue the conversation about using technology for good, try our book Noah’s New Phone. This book will help children see how positive choices they make with technology can create ripples of change that will affect their home, school, community, and the whole world.
*Information Age: “The modern age, regarded as a time in which information has become a commodity that is quickly and widely disseminated and easily available, especially through the use of computer technology.” (Merriam-Webster, 2019)
*Social Media: Websites and apps people use to share information and develop personal and professional relationships. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter are examples of social media.
*E-learning: “Learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.” (Lexico, 2019)
*Crowdfunding: “The practice of funding a project or venture or cause by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and alternative finance.” (Lexico, 2019)
Jamie recently graduated with her degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University – Idaho. She currently lives in the greater Seattle area and works as a nanny. Seeking adventure, truth, and strong relationships are her recipe for happiness, and she hopes to help others find similar joy through her writing.
Crowdfunding: Definition of Crowdfunding by Lexico. (n.d.). Retrieved 10, 2019, from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/crowdfunding.
E-Learning: Definition of E-Learning by Lexico. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/e-learning.
Information Age. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Information Age.