Our #MyTechFamily hub continues to make strides towards helping families make the most of the web together...
Have you read about our new My Tech Family hub? It’s a place which has been created by Vodafone and The Parent Zone to give you and your family to get all sorts of ideas about how to use technology together at home, and for each generation to get a better idea of what the other is doing when they go online.
But My Tech Family doesn’t start and stop at home. We’re also working to get as many of the UK’s 17,000 primary schools as possible involved too. So over 2000 have signed up – which could reach a potential 30,000 families – and we’ve already had several teachers trialling our resources in real classrooms.
To find out how the kids of St Katherine’s Primary School, Savernake took to the My Tech Family activities, we’ve been speaking to their teacher Kevin Sandall. Read on to learn how your whole family could benefit from a little more sharing…
My Tech Classroom
For primary teachers, My Tech Family offers lesson plans and activities that encourage kids to start talking with their parents about everyone’s use of technology at home, and how they can start using it together more to do some really fun stuff. As Kevin explains, that opens up some interesting discussions: “The bit of the whole project that I’ve definitely found useful and interesting is the sharing aspect,” he says.
“We had a really nice session in class where the children shared lots of things that they like doing, and they then went home and shared those things at home with their parents. When they came back, that sharing experience had been really positive.”
One of the things kids do most on mobile devices is play games, and Kevin says that the discussion around this side of tech proved really useful for parents:
“Clash of Clans is the ‘in’ thing at the minute in my class,” he explains, “and so lots of the children had gone home and showed the game to their parents, and explained what it is they’re doing on there. Then we had some nice examples of kids saying that their parents had walked them through what they do when they use tablets or smartphones at home. I think that sharing aspect is the really powerful part.
“I think that because adults and youngsters use technology in such separate ways, there’s an element of adults increasingly not knowing what children are doing. The kids might say that they’re playing Clash of Clans, but the parents might have no idea what that actually looks like, or what it involves. That opportunity to show what it is beyond just looking at the screen – actually asking kids to walk their parents through things – is really powerful.”
And that’s especially true when this newfound sharing reveals aspects of certain technology or apps that parents might not expect:
“It’s nice for youngsters to see what adults are using the same technology for.”
“Some of these games have chat boxes in the corner of the screen,” Kevin adds, “which parents might not have been aware of. So in future, when kids say they’re playing a new game, the parents will want to know what it’s about. Or when kids are talking about YouTube, parents might want to have a bit more of an idea.
“And, on the other side of the coin, it’s really nice for youngsters to see what adults are using the same technology for, as well. We had quite a lot of parents spending time on eBay, or reading magazines and newspapers, for example.”
“The children were very keen on it, and they produced photos, posters and films showing what the whole family does online.”
Opening a dialogue
According to Kevin, the best and most important thing about this kind of sharing is that it “opens that channel – to talk more about what’s happening online.” And in turn, that helps any parents who might feel like they’re lagging behind to stay up to date:
“Children are such confident users of technology that if parents are slightly less so, it becomes hard for them to be aware of what the kids are doing, and how they’re using it.
“I did an internet safety session for parents recently,” he says, “and I had parents say that they’re concerned about never knowing the exact ins and outs of what children are up to. And it’s difficult; I’m quite tech savvy but there are always new apps that I’ve not heard of.”
But even if that is the case, Kevin suggests that simply having these discussions will go a long way. “Parents need to stay aware of what children are doing, and it’s through discussion that you can get that, without necessarily needing to know absolutely everything.
“My Tech Family opens that dialogue,” he says in closing. “A project like this is good at breaking barriers down, and while I don’t know what the long term impacts are just yet, the parents I’ve spoken to have been very positive about it.”