EPA Webinar: Parenting in the Digital Age
Report on EPA Webinar on 21st November 2020
“Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy”
Link to webinar recording: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jbwk6x4q78qr9l7/GMT20201121-083749_Aivar-Hall.m4a?dl=0
The webinar started with the welcoming words by the president, Víctor Petuya, to the EPA members and other organisations that were attending the webinar. He reported that the topic for 2020 was “Parenting in the Digital Age” and that during the year, EPA had tried to focus on this theme and had given priority to its participation in meetings related to it. EPA had attempted to cover as many aspects of the topic as possible, including the advantages in communications and democratic access to knowledge and the possible dangers and pitfalls. He stated that this webinar is also well aligned with the European Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, which has two strategic priorities: fostering the development of a high performing digital education ecosystem and enhancing digital skills and competences for the digital transformation. So within this scope, EPA had organised this webinar on Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy.
Victor thanked all the speakers for taking part in the webinar and supporting EPA, and in particular Janice Richardson. He explained that the webinar would take the form of two parts and that each part included a presentation followed by questions and a discussion. The first part focuses on Digital Citizenship and he passed the floor to Valerie Gardette, EPA Board Member and Vice President, to introduce the first speaker.
Valerie thanked Victor and then introduced Janice Richardson (email@example.com) from the organisation Insight, which is a network of experts in various areas but all related to Internet literacy, Children’s Rights and Citizenship. She explained that Janice was a project innovator, lecturer and international expert in Digital Citizenship, literacy and Children’s Rights. Janice is also an author of many books and provides recommendations to the Council of Europe. She runs an European-wide Youth Council, is an advisor to several youth groups and international organisations and sits on the Advisory Boards of Facebook and Twitter. Valerie temporarily passed the floor to Aivar Hall, EPA Board Member, so he could launch a poll of the attendees before then passing the floor to Janice Richardson.
Janice spoke about Digital Citizenship Education, as it is understood at the Council of Europe, and in particular from a parent’s perspective. In a recent survey, only 36% of parents considered citizenship to be one of their top priorities and in the poll just taken, 35% of the webinar attendees agreed. In May/June 2020, the Council of Europe conducted a survey which received responses from 21,000 parents from across its 47 member states. The Council discovered that balancing screen time with physical activities was extremely difficult for parents. It was not surprising that 51% of parents said that juggling their work along with their children’s work was challenging, but it also found that 38% were worried about the lack of face-to-face contact with other children and 32% were concerned about the general well-being of their children during the Covid-19 crisis. What particularly bothered parents is that pedagogical strategies were not up to standard as no one knows how to teach in a remote environment. 20% of parents were concerned that special needs were completely ignored during the school lockdown and the majority of parents spoke about wanting to protect privacy, which is very much part of digital citizenship, detecting fake news (critical thinking) and bullying incidents (empathy). The Council of Europe believes that there are 20 competences that every child needs if they are going to be able to participate fully in a democratic and digital society, but the correct values and attitudes are built at home from the very first moment. Many of the ten essential skills highlighted by the World Economic Forum also coincide with these 20 competences. The Council of Europe has also identified 10 domains, which can be divided into Being Online, Well-being Online and Rights Online. A recently published book provides a checklist for parents to help educate children on how to use the Internet safely and a manual for schools explaining the ten domains contains many activities and exercises for 9 to 12 year olds. A further survey of parents shows that they would like to see a recommendation system about children’s websites, a website for parents and short, expert videos about using the Internet. To conclude, children learn by example!
Janice´s presentation can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2pixxkpqrcplg09/Janice%20Richardson%20EPA%20Nov%202020.pptx?dl=0
Link to Digital Citizenship Education Handbook can be found here: https://rm.coe.int/digital-citizenship-education-handbook/168093586F
Link to Book can be found here: https://rm.coe.int/easy-steps-tp-help-your-child-become-a-digital-citizen/16809e2d1d
Link to a Manual for Schools can be found here: https://www.insight2act.net/images/Insight/PDF/All-aboard-for-DigiTown.pdf
Claudio Masotti, Board Member and Vice President of EPA, then explained how Media Literacy is part of Digital Literacy and the typical approach of a parent towards their children is to say ´stop wasting your time in front of a screen´, but the current Covid-19 situation now means that screens are not just a virtual life, but a big part of our real life. Claudio then handed over to Bostjan Bobic, Vice President of EPA who introduced the Media Literacy for Parents (MeLi) project (www.meli4parents.eu) of which EPA is one of seven partners. Bostjan explained how media literacy has increased greatly in recent years and it is up to parents to identify and show their children the dangers of being online. However, the problem is that many parents feel insecure due to their lack of knowledge and esteem that they cannot support their children. The MeLi project means to empower parents through training programs and support tools, but how can that happen with so many parents across many different countries? The answer is to develop a web app, to create an online community to support parents and to produce a parents´guide to media literacy.
The following speaker was Joanna Zyla from the lead partner of the MeLi project, the Map of Passion Foundation in Poland. She explained two of the three results that this project would like to achieve. The project created a training program using research (surveys), focus interviews with parents in different countries, and national reports produced by the partners. Two main conclusions could be drawn from this investigation. The first is the lack of materials, programs and seminars for parents and the second is that the biggest wish of parents is to have the necessary tools to control children’s online activities. Therefore, MeLi has developed a training curriculum with three levels – basic, intermediate and advanced. The project is currently preparing training materials, which will be translated into five other languages besides English. The web app will compliment these training materials but could also be used as a standalone item. The technical aspect of the app has been developed and now the content (quizzes, storytelling, reflections) is being worked on.
Claudio then introduced Arja Krauchenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org), the former EPA President and current president of the Lifelong Learning Platform and the Project Co-ordinator for EPA. Arja talked about the third part of the MeLi project, the Parents´ Guide. The guide will include an introduction, a glossary of buzzwords and scientific definitions, a general overview, thematic sections which will cover three main topics: dangers (for example cyberbullying, hate speech, internet addiction), opportunities (for example contact with others, participation in events and access to information) and prevention (for example online privacy and cyber security), a section on how to use the app and a section about joining the online community. Arja launched a poll asking the participants to state the three most important topics that they would like to see included in the guide and the results highlighted Cyber Security, Knowledge and Communication.
The final speaker was Valerio Cipolli, who works for the European Digital Learning Network (Dlearn www.dlearn.eu), another partner of the MeLi project. Valerio emphasised the importance of communication as whatever takes place within the framework of any project has to be shared, during and after a project, with organisations from the participating partners´countries and other organisations across all european countries. He explained that the dissemination of the MeLi project is through its website, which is updated regularly with all the project´s material in English and five other languages, its Facebook account (@meliforparents), a periodical newsletter which all the project´s partners will share with their local stakeholders, and webinars and events. The webinars and events are the most important part of the communication strategy as it allows the people who are really interested in the project to be reached directly. Families, including grandparents, and schools and teachers are the target audience and associations such as EPA are the crucial link between these two parties. The MeLi project will be organising two international webinars, which will be open to anyone, plus dissemination events in each partner country.
After each intervention the participants were invited to make comments and ask questions and there was a lot of interest displayed. The event was closed by the EPA President, Victor Petuya, who thanked all the speakers and moderators for their availability and support in the webinar, and all the participants for their attendance and active contribution. Victor hoped that all the ideas and conclusions drawn from the webinar were inspiring and will help to boost future collaborations between EPA and its partners. www.europarents.eu