Paris Talks 2018: Parenting, Children and Education in the Digital Age

In 2018, Expats Paris, launched the first conference, Paris Talks, as a platform for provocative and disruptive ideas about the future of humanity.

The conference format is short, powerful, inspiring talks, combined with entertainment and networking opportunities.  Conference issues range from fields of technology, art, and design, to science, environment, humanities and more.

The main focus of the conference is to pose questions about the future, such as, "What does the future look like?"  "Can anyone ever predict what the next century will be like?" 

I was invited to be a speaker at the 2018 Paris Talk and I spoke on the subject of Parenting, Children and Education in the Digital Age. 

Below were the key points for my talk, but as you can see from the video, I went a tad off-script after listening to some of the speakers.  I wanted to really engage the audience and drive home my concerns and support for digital parents: communicate with your children and don’t be afraid of Internet, technology and social media.

KEY POINTS:

The digital age is fascinating and the technological advances are mind-boggling.

  • Technological advances without always ensuring privacy and wellbeing for children.
  • Examples of challenges for children: VR, AI, AR, Internet of Things, smartphones, smart homes, Alexa and Google

What is the future for our children in this digital environment?

  • Technology has fantastic opportunities but without parental support and education on the use of technology, children will be harmed.
  • Smartphones and "addiction" to social media
  • Physical problems related to overuse: tech neck, headaches, eye strain
  • internet safety for infants and toddlers: misuse of facial recognition software
  • Worry about physical health and safety dangers associated with augmented reality and virtual reality

Parents and schools have the most contact with our children, so we must support them

  • Organizations working to support children for the future: Council of Europe, Apple investor investigation, Center for Human Technology, Common Sense Media and the Truth About Tech.
  • Organizations are all moving forward to ensure that children and young people control technology responsibly and safely, rather than being controlled by technology.
  • Council of Europe - Digital Citizenship Education
    • Supporting children and young people to participate safely, effectively, critically and responsibly in a world filled with social media and digital technologies is a priority for educators and parents the world over
    • The notion of digital citizenship has evolved to encompass a range of competences, attributes and behaviours that harness the benefits and opportunities the online world affords while building resilience to potential harms.

My prediction for the future as far as technology and our children are concerned:

  • 2018 is the year of the digital parent and parenting in the digital age
  • More collaboration between psychologists, paediatricians and psychiatrists related to technology and well-being
  • More evidence-based studies will be performed to determine the effects of technology on our children
  • Parents will find more balance and boundaries and be able to guide their children (and babies/toddlers) to use technology, tablets and smartphones responsibly
  • Increased government regulation -- especially if industry drags its feet

So, what do YOU think is the future of parenting in the digital age?  You can head over to the Digital Parenting Community on Facebook and join other concerned and supportive parents or you can send me a message at [email protected]

I would love to hear from you!

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