By Collin Robinson, PTA Connected Ambassador and National PTA Board Member
The digital world changes and grows every day. That makes parenting complex, to say the least.We want our children to connect, learn and have fun through technology, and at the same time, act safely, responsibly and thoughtfully online. But these ideas can seem impossible to combine. And with a child in middle school and a child in high school, I have experienced this firsthand.
As parents ourselves, and in response to the needs and interests of parents nationwide, National PTA has been working for more than five years to explore and address these issues. We have been focused on fostering safe, positive use of internet-connected devices and digital and social media among youth as well as providing families with tools to help their children be successful online. And with a shared commitment to empowering families to make smarter, safer choices online, we have been fortunate to collaborate with LifeLock on this work right from the start.
While we are proud of what we have done so far in this space, we know that parents are increasingly concerned about all aspects of the digital world, especially safety. To formalize and build on our efforts, we have launched PTA Connected, a multi-dimensional program to deepen the understanding and knowledge of parents, families and teachers about digital safety tools and resources; mobilize PTAs, schools and communities to engage families around best practices and shared learning; and generate collective impact.
Through PTA Connected, we will educate parents and encourage them to guide their children into responsible digital citizenship and make the best possible decisions for their families. Training and grants will also be delivered to state and local PTA leaders across the country to lead community conversations—giving parents a safe space to share successes and worries about parenting in the digital world as well as crowdsource ideas, resources and tools to help keep children safe online.
As part of the program, 25 local PTAs will be selected to receive a $1,000 grant to host an event in conjunction with Safer Internet Day, which will be celebrated Feb. 5, 2019. The deadline for PTAs to apply for the grants is Oct. 14, 2018.
With children who are very active online, I am thrilled about the launch of PTA Connected. As a long-time PTA volunteer and PTA Leader, as well as a freelance web developer, I am honored to serve as PTA Connected Ambassador. In this role, I will champion our association’s work in this space and serve as a spokesperson.
It’s exciting—and very reflective of today’s highly interconnected world—that my volunteer work with PTA and my professional work in the digital space are coming together in this way. As PTA Connected Ambassador, I will be speaking directly to the needs of parents while learning and adapting to the world of digital parenting right alongside them. I look forward to working with families across the country, and other corporate and non-profit collaborators—you’ll be hearing more from me soon!
National PTA is grateful for all of the support of our efforts to help families navigate the digital world. We are so pleased to continue our work together through PTA Connected.
For more information about the initiative, visit PTA.org/Connected.
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