The three worlds of digital parenting
Welcome to the
new parenting divide
When should I give my daughter her first cell phone?
How much screen time should I allow?
Do I teach my kid to write by hand, or do I teach him to use a keyboard?
How parents address these choices constitutes the great parenting divide of our time. Far more than whether mummy leans in or stays home, far more than whether daddy is a “helicopter parent” or “free ranger”, how parents approach their kids’ use of technology shapes both family life and future prospects.
But we don’t have to make those choices in the dark. Over the past two years, I’ve gathered data on how more than 10,000 North American parents navigate the digital world, and uncovered three distinct digital parenting styles.
This page is the home for this ongoing research project, and for related publications and resources.
Subscribe to the Connected Families newsletter
Sign up to get occasional emails with new data, insights and tips on family technology.
My post forThe Atlantic features a first look at the data on how mentors, enablers and limiters approach the challenge of raising children in a digital world..
My presentation at SXSW Interactive mapped out the data showing why companies need to pay attention to the new digital parenting divide. See the highlights here.
Are you a mentor parent?
Kids thrive online when their parents actively guide them into the digital world. Digital mentors raise kids who have the technical and social skills to lead meaningful lives online — and who still know how to switch off.
You don’t have to be a tech whiz to be a great mentor for your kids: you just need to engage with your kids’ use of technology, and maybe even have some online fun yourself. Find a roundup of my favorite resources here — including worksheets to help you make a family screen agreement.
I wrote my Ph.D. thesis on hacktivism: politically-motivated computer hacking. Interviewing fifty politically engaged computer hackers turned out to be great preparation for running a business that built nonprofit online communities, because I really know how to speak...
Turning off the phone, TV or videogame is hard. Here’s how to make that transition easier for you and your child — and to build your child’s core skills in the process.
My recent piece for The Atlantic, Parents: Reject Technology Shame, tackles the question of how to raise kids in a digital world. Data from more than 10,000 North American parents shows that they are deeply divided on this question, and that there are three distinct...
Family tech policies
Get a head start in guiding your kids’ use of technology with these resources for creating family technology policies.
Minecraft has become a global phenomenon because kids love playing it, and parents and educators praise the way it fuels creativity and learning. But we've held off on introducing it to our household because we're concerned about the compulsive behaviour and conflict...
The ongoing conversation in our home about how to use social media — and in particular, how to do so in a way that is both safe and enjoyable for our kids — has helped us evolve a de facto social media policy governing how we engage with social media as a family. I decided it was time to go from de facto to actual, recorded policy. Use our policy as a jumping-off point for your own.
for educators, parents and communities
What do parents need to know about raising kids in a digital world? How can schools address and bridge the profound differences in the way different families approach their kids’ use of technology? Speaking as both a mother and a researcher, I walk you through the challenges that families face today, drawing on data gathered from more than 10,000 North American parents. Your audience will leave with a clear sense of the choices they face, and practical ideas for how they can approach these choices in their own classrooms and families.
Wondering if a workshop is right for your organization? Email me today.
Presenting at the Dalai Lama Centre’s 2015 Conference, Connecting in a Digital World.
In the media
Highlights from my writing and speaking on family technology.
Favorite parenting stories
My stories about digital-age parenting have appeared in a range of news outlets and blogs. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.
Why parents shouldn’t feel technology shame
for The Atlantic
Your weakest security link? Your children
for The Wall Street Journal
Don’t unfriend mom, just rein her in a bit
for The Toronto Star
Is an iPad Right for Your Family?
Thank Your Mom — She Taught You How To Tech
for The Atlantic.com
Foreword: The Truth of Motherhood Online
in Motherhood Online (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011)
I often comment on stories about how technology has affected our families and relationships. Here are some of those stories and conversations.
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday (audio), February 10, 2013
Is the Internet making us more lonely or less lonely? Yes.
GigaOm, April 23, 2012
Doomed or Lucky? Predicting the Future of the Internet Generation
KQED Mindshift, February 29, 2012
About our family
My research and thinking on how families navigate technology has been profoundly shaped by my own journey as a parent. In a lot of ways, our family is just like any other family in the way we struggle with screens. And in other ways, our two kids — Sweetie and Peanut — offer challenges all their own.
Our family, as drawn by Sweetie
When I sat down to share my insights into navigating the school system with a kid who just doesn’t fit the conventional student mould, I realized that my insights were meaningless without the context of our own experience parenting a 2E (twice exceptional) child.
Unlike some full-time working mothers, I’ve never fantasized about staying home with my kids. And yet here I am: close to a full-time working mother in terms of how I spend my hours, but nothing like a full-time working mother in terms of how I spend my days. The most surprising part: I’ve never been happier.