I’ve been a sucker for TED Talks ever since they started publishing them online. I’ve found some of them particularly valuable in parenting members of a digital generation.
TED (Technology, Education, and Design) is an organization dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” Through a series of international conferences and inspired local gatherings (called TEDx events), organizers bring together the best and brightest to share their knowledge about the world and ourselves.
Presentations are generally high-quality and polished, and they are often backed by solid research. In short, I always feel a little smarter after watching their videos.
The following talks relate to our digital kids and our parenting of them.
Linda Liukas wants to show kids who might think of coding as too…boring…to see computers as “expressive machines to be tinkered with.”
Mitch Resnick of MIT’s Media Lab says that coding is for everyone. In this talk, he highlights the benefits of teaching coding to kids, so they can “do more than just use new tech toys but also create them.”
Devorah Heitner, Founder of Raising Digital Natives, talks about the struggles we all have with teaching our kids the do’s and don’t’s of digital citizenship. She shares her own research and conversations with kids…who have come up with some pretty inventive “apps” to better manage our digital dependency. Heitner stresses the need for mentorship and teaching our kids empathy.
Stuart Duncan decided “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” And in doing so, he created a safe online space for kids with Autism in a world they already love: Minecraft. Through a system of rewards and expectations, the participants in Duncan’s online environment find what they couldn’t in their offline lives.
Sara DeWitt, children’s media expert, attempts to put some of our parental anxieties about screens to rest. Talking about her own experiences and some of the research involving media use among children, DeWitt reminds us that we may not be damaging our kids as much as we think when we hand them a phone or tablet.
And a bonus:
If you have a tween or teen in your home, this TED Talk will give you the basics of how their brain works…and doesn’t. What does this have to do with digital parenting? Listen as she explains the development of the pre-frontal cortex and think of that the next time your teen is on social media connecting with the world.
For more TED Talks, check out ted.com and search their archives.