International Day of Families

Digital tools for better parenting

During the COVID-19 crisis, our need and dependence on digital technologies to be able to perform remote work, participate in online schooling and stay connected with family and friends, have become evident. Innovative technologies have helped families carry out day-to-day tasks and routines while staying at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Such transition to online platforms has not been easy, often resulting in parental burnout. Now, more than ever before, parents and caregivers, especially those fully employed, need resources to successfully manage their parenting obligations.

New digital technologies have a potential to empower parents to meet such obligations successfully. But there are also challenges due to the digital divide, with many families lacking such resources. Growing screen fatigue, cyber bulling and other negative aspects of new technologies are also issues of concern to parents and educators alike.

Against this backdrop, this year’s International Day of Families will focus on the impact and potential of new technologies on families to ensure the wellbeing of children and their families, and children’s physical, mental and emotional development.

A new background paper on “Technology Use and Families: Implications for Work-Family Balance and Parenting Education” will be launched at the commemoration event taking place on 14 May. Written by Susan K. Walker, Associate Professor of Family Social Science and Former Director of Parent and Family Education at the University of Minnesota, the paper analyzes several aspects of digital technologies’ impact on families including equity and access, privacy, online safety as well as digital literacy.

“As parents use technology in their roles […], parenting education can help promote the value and how to use these new media and possibly create new rules for parent-child communication,” the new paper states. It also highlights how parenting education can “help parents acquire ‘digital cultural capital’.”

Learn more about the day, this year’s commemoration and the background paper.

Source: UN DESA

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