Hello Lower School Families,
Communication is complicated. It always has been and probably always will be, perhaps because it requires skills that change as rapidly as a person's own development. Throw in technology to the mix? Things get easier in some ways (so many digital opportunities to communicate!) and arguably harder in many (so many digital opportunities for communication to go awry!).
We were very lucky to host Dr. Abigail Judge on Tuesday, December 5th, for her evening talk, "Refresh: Redefining Parental Authority in the Digital Age." Dr. Judge has presented about tech use at the BB&N Middle and Upper Schools, and this was her first time at the Lower School. Dr. Judge shares in our feelings that digging into the topic of digital use in the early years, before middle school, is increasingly valuable. As students (and we) use more devices every year, this conversation becomes more and more relevant.
One idea that Dr. Judge presented to us is what she calls the "parenting paradox." She describes this as the knowledge that, on the one hand, technology use isn't the only problem—that when technology use issues arise with a child or group of children, this may indicate other "offline" struggles. On the other hand, technology can be the problem, since it introduces "new possibilities for trouble, even with good education about the risks...". Therefore, it can be helpful for us to consider issues of tech use through both lenses.
This is a lot to grapple with, and there aren't easy answers. What does seem to be consistent advice from experts we have heard from over the years is that having tech contracts help (here's an example from the Screenagers website—remember, they can be living documents!), and keeping the door open for ongoing conversation about how kids are using their tech—and to what end—is essential.
For those of you who have teens in your lives or are thinking ahead to being a parent to one, you may find this article written by Dr. Judge interesting, just published this week on the MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds website.
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Abigail Judge and her work, head this way.
Wishing you all a restful Winter Break,