In this unsettled and uncertain time, we are hopeful that you and your loved ones are safe. As the international community continues to monitor the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19 and maintains essential operations, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of everyone affected by these difficult and unprecedented circumstances. For some, these circumstances are more critical than others. Your friends, family, and other contacts may require your assistance. It is a time in which we must all be proactive and cautious.
One side effect of the global crisis that we can easily tackle, however, is the inevitable increasing attachment to our devices in a time of social isolation. Virtual connection, regardless of however many merits it may seem to hold, should not be unlimited to children. With fake news, rumors, and daunting updates combusting the internet, now is the right time to implement strict policies regarding your child’s virtual learning and online experience.
Common Sense Education lists some activities that you can engage in with your child to help them develop news and media literacy, balance time online, and avoid or prevent cyberbullying.
Check out Hoaxes and Fakes, an engaging exercise for students above the age of 10; your child can gauge what makes a message realistic, and why viral videos are not necessarily representative of current affairs.
If your child’s educational institution is moving into virtual school, Connecting with Digital Audiences is a constructive resource for your child to practice appropriate and effective communication skills.
If your older children are suddenly learning from home, they’re probably having a hard time focusing on their laptop and staying away from Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Some fantastic apps to take a minute to practice mindfulness or focus on wellbeing include:
There is also a plethora of factual, guided lessons which can gently inform your child about assumptions and diagnosis misinformation. There is even a Coronavirus Storytelling and Media Making class, a PBS NewsHour unit which helps students create journalistic media exploring the coronavirus' impact.
There is a vast repository of resources at your fingertips during this time as you and your child find safety amidst this massive health and sociopolitical crisis. As your family faces an uncertain time, your mental health and wellbeing should not hinder you from being active and healthy.
Writing credit: Authored by Anitha, a mother of two children with interests in EdTech and a strong advocate for Digital Citizenship.
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