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July 16, 2009

Stop Making Parents the Punchline and Include Them in the EdTech Conversation

Digitally ignorant parents find themselves once again the punchline of a new website dutifully called MyParentsJoinedFacebook.com. The site was created by a daughter after her dad joined Facebook and his social networking activity quickly became obnoxious to her. With a swift gain in popularity, MyParentsJoinedFacebook.com joins others in exploiting (right or wrong) parents' naivete as a way to add a few laughs and clicks. 

Between the easy laughs and "Dateline" fear mongering, I can understand why a 2008 MacArthur Foundation supported study showed that parents tend to be in the dark about what their kids are doing online and 66% consider "the internet" as dangerous as drunk driving.

We need to stop scaring, laughing at, or excluding parents and instead start having real conversations. As James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, said:
Technology is a major part of our kids’ worlds, and that is not going to change. Parents need to know what their kids are doing in their digital lives, and they have to be well informed about issues like privacy, ethical behavior, digital literacy, and cyberbullying. When parents understand these potential pitfalls and communicate with their kids, the internet can be an educational, entertaining, and safe environment.”
Not surprisingly, research shows that the more educated and engaged a parent is in their child's online activity, the more positively they see the internet's potential.

Having said all this, we at Swift Kick are launching several new educational offerings geared toward parents and grandparents.

To kick off, this Saturday we're partnering with the world-renounwed education group QLN to host our first, parent/grandparent only, training in San Diego. If you are in the area, sign up today to reserve your seat.

Then, over the next month, we'll begin announcing a series of regional parent/grandparent programs, webinars, and an ongoing Web Coaching Program.

After 5 years and 300+ trainings with 10,000s of students and educators we know we've progressed the technology conversation further past the doom and gloom. Now it's time to work with parents as a critical third player.

We are bringing to parents the same level of quality and research that's awarded us the title as the #1 Campus Trainers for 2007, 2008, and 2009 by member schools of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

There are champions already promoting great work like Common Sense Media, iSafe, Digital Dialog, Cable in the Classroom, Radical Parenting, The Online Mom, and BJ Fogg that we'll parter with to help dispel the myths and promote positive, effective technology use.

These are just a few and we don't like to move slow, so if you're connected to parents and would like to partner, either leave a comment below or contact us.

Here's to parents, we got your digital back ;-) 


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