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Parenting In The Digital Age Developmental Considerations And Decision Making Presenter Dr. Susan Hughes May October 20, 2012
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Parenting In The Digital Age Developmental Considerations And Decision Making Presenter Dr. Susan Hughes May October 20, 2012


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This informative presentation has two primary aims. First,to expose parents to digital age dynamics that may be effecting childrens\' development and second, to introduce the benefits of adapting …

This informative presentation has two primary aims. First,to expose parents to digital age dynamics that may be effecting childrens\' development and second, to introduce the benefits of adapting traditional parenting paradigms to include digital age factors.

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  • Internet, blogging, social networking, podcasting, instant messaging, posting to newsgroups or boards,new ways to connect, collaborate, and share, transforming the way we live and work.
  • Due to their limited motor function, very young infants will have limited ability to engage with digital media outside of TV and music. However, as digital media becomes hybridized and as traditional toys like stuffed animals and books come with computer chips, it islikely that very young children will have more exposure to NDM. Their favorite teddy bear might comepre-equipped with artificial intelligence and a wireless modem.
  • Developing motor control allows pre-schoolers access to more forms of digital media
  • There is no gender divide. Boys and girls under the age of 5 were equally adept at using technology.These are the results of a study commissioned by Internet security company AVG on how children aged 2-5 interact with technology. 2,200 mothers with Internet access in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were polled
  • The brain produces a large number of neural connections just before puberty—connections that diminish in number throughout adolescence through a "use-it-or-lose-it" pruning. Through this process, the brain becomes leaner and more efficient.
  • The richer the environment and the more intentional and purposeful the interactions and experiences, the greater the number of neurologicalconnections children are able to forgeBirth to 3 years and again at 11- or 12-years-old
  • Adoptive parents who have had their child since 9 mos or 1 year old….met developmental milestones on time, appears highly verbal and bright.But has sensitivity to noise, bright lights, or other tactile inputs….or becomes agitated in emotionally laden situations, or on par with peers in pre school but appear to have processing challenges that impede progress as formal learning progresses
  • Experience plays a crucial role in “wiring” a young child’s brain.
  • Impulse control, planning, and decision making are largely prefrontal cortex functions that are still maturing during adolescence.2. Adult response to stimuli tends to be more intellectual, while teens’ is often more "from the gut.” This suggests that while the changeability of theadolescent brain is well suited to meet the demands of teen life, guidance from adults are essential while this decision-making circuitry is being formed.3. The ability for the brain to plan, adapt to the social environment, and to imagine possible future consequences of action or to appropriately gauge their emotional significance, is still developing throughout adolescence. The majority of adolescent brain functioning takes place in the ventral striatum, where decisions are made based on rewards and emotions without the back-up cognitive strength of the pre-frontal cortex.4. Brain functions that enhance teens’ ability to connect gut feelings with their ability to help retrieve memories, to put situations into context, and toremember past details about a situation that might be important, are also under major construction during adolescence.5. Adolescence is also a time of great vulnerability. Substance abuse and addiction use many of the same systems as normal learning. The adolescent brain, similar to the young child's brain, is highly susceptible to intensive learning. If the adolescent is abusing drugs or alcohol, the behavior is learned more deeply than in the adult brain, thereby creating a situation for stronger and longer addiction problems.5. This new research and understanding of adolescent brain development has numerous implications for adolescent education practices, social issues including juvenile justice, adolescent medical therapies and treatments, and other areas affecting adolescent life.
  • —the problem is, their parents will probably never be the same!
  • ; managing chats, updating Facebook, watching video, listen to musisCome to school, look up and see overhead projector and white board/ smart boards
  • Just in case its on the test, the SAT, you want to become an engineerJust in time to learn how to play the game, or some other thing they don’t know how to do
  • SoIn small doses, CPA can facilitate functionality. Too much, however, can compromise one’s ability toreflect, to make decisions, and to think creatively. Drivers chatting with a passenger typically pause when the traffic getsDeveloping Minds and Digital Media: Habits of Mind in the YouTube Era Page 44rough, and the passenger respects the natural lull in the conversation; cell phone conversation partners donot. This split in attention and performance degradation is particularly problematic for inexperienceddrivers.
  • Experiment 1hr study same topic, same grade level in traditional text vs 1hr online text, then tested.Who learned more? Not clear!
  • Socially awkward, marginalized kids who can feel part of a group!
  • InformalChildren were more likely to get lost on a site, re-click already-visited areas by mistake, clickstudy that showed that teenagers completed the online task they hadset out to do only 55% of the time, compared to 66% for adults
  • Having to teach kids more and more…they happily report observations
  • two 14-year-olds who have been dating for 2 months. Each day, the couple wakes up together by logging onto MSN to talk between taking their showers and doing their hair. They then switch to conversing over their mobile phones as they travel to school, exchanging text messages throughout the school day. After school they tend to get together to do their homework, during which they talk and play a video game. When not together, they con­tinue to talk on the phone and typically end the night on the phone or sending a text message to say good night and “I love you.”xxv As becomes evident in the case of couples and close friends such as Alice and Jesse, many contemporary teens maintain multiple and constant lines of communication with their intimates over mobile The brain’s ability to inhibit and control impulses and emotions is relatively poorsince further development of structures such as the prefrontal cortexneeds to occur.
  • Require digital housecleaning that is new to the world of teen romance,
  • the self was increasingly becoming externally manufactured rather than internally developed: a series of profiles to be sculpted and refined in response to public opinion.”
  • Between the Continuous Partial Attention, steady communication and social connectivity and the degree to which the developing sense of identity is tied to social media forums….see why child really freaks out, experiences internal distress when phone and other electronic media is taken away…The constant socParents often express alarm, a tendency to want to shut down…..
  • This feeling may be particularly strong among individuals who believe they are more technologically savvy than theirparents
  • since the more angry kids are, the more they're going to try to restore or assert their freedom. (which to a teen can be like banning a whole social life)
  • complicated rules and restrictions and heavy-handed norms about how they should engage online, without being attuned to the norms that exist, complicated rules and restrictions and heavy-handed norms about how they should engage online, without being attuned to the norms that exist,
  • Am I just being one of those overly permissive parents? No, I’m being realistic. With all the workarounds kids have to restrictions on their digital social tools, it’s way too easy for them to break the rules and hack the parental controls
  • Transcript

    • 1. Developmental Considerations and Decision-Making Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Southeastern Region Mothers’ Workday October 20, 2012 Presenter: Susan Hughes May, Ph.D.
    • 2. AGENDA Inspiration for Workshop Characteristics of The Digital Age MRI Insights into Brain Development Digital Culture: Celebration and Concern Development of Identity, Autonomy, and Trust Impact on Parent-Child Relationships Parent Development and Adult Development What, if Anything, Remains The Same?
    • 3. INSPIRATION FOR WORKSHOP Increasingly many parents and their children present to my practice in crisis, with a breakdown in communication, a high level of conflict, and a clear decline in functioning. They are caught in an unproductive power struggle and at high risk of further negative consequences. Yet…. They have functioned well in many areas in the past They do not meet any DSM-IV diagnoses They have not had any recent trauma or loss
    • 4. INSPIRATION FOR WORKSHOP The children are often in the midst of navigating a developmental transition Well intentioned and intelligent parents are operating from a traditional paradigm that does not reflect key digital age factors
    • 5. THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME …OR DO THEY? As was true for their parents, today’s parents have a generational obligation to prepare their children for adulthood and optimal societal functioning Children depend upon parents to provide the growth experiences, emotional base, principles, and values that will lead to a healthy and productive future Children continue to benefit when expectations are clearly conveyed, required, and supervised by parents
    • 6. THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME …OR DO THEY? Due to digital culture, neurological, cognitive, emotional and social development are different The evolution of digital culture effect adult/parent development Need for increased awareness that will influence our empathy, expectations, and effectiveness
    • 7. DIGITAL AGE CULTURE Rapid and vast technological advances Increased capability for accessing information Altered everyday communication Transform opportunities for learning Digital Natives: socialize, create, work, and play
    • 8. DIGITAL CULTUREUnder Age Two (2): 59% of American children watch television 42% watch a video or DVD 5% use a computer 3% play videogames
    • 9. DIGITAL CULTUREFrom four (4) to six (6) years old: 70% have used computers 50% have played video games Most have begun to exert more control and choice over their patterns of TV and music consumption Carnegie, 2005
    • 10. DIGITAL CULTURE 69 percent of children aged 2-5 can use a computer mouse, but only 11 percent can tie their own shoelaces. More young children know how to play a computer game (58 percent) than swim (20 percent) or ride a bike (52 percent). Due to the increasing tendency of parents to upload pictures of their newborns, 92 percent of children now have an online footprint before they are 2 years old. The average “digital birth” happens at around six months old.
    • 11. DIGITAL CULTURE A 2010 Nielsen study suggests that 36% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 use different media simultaneously. Though not included in the original report, Sesame Workshop has clarified that 23% of parents of children between ages 0 and 5 say these children use the Internet. Of that percentage, 82% use it on a weekly basis.
    • 12. DIGITAL CULTURE By age 7, many are active users on networked gaming sites such as Club Penguin Children between the ages of 8 and 10 spend about 5.5 hours each day using media — eight hours if you count the additional media consumed while multitasking. 60% of 7-12th graders “talk on the phone, instant message, watch TV, listen to music, or surf the Web for fun” at least some of the time as they do homework.
    • 14. MRI INSIGHTS Advanced diagnostic imaging technology has revealed a lot Brain development depends on a complex interplay between genes and the environment The primary task of the brain during early childhood is to connect brain cells. The process involves waves of intense branching and connecting followed by reduction in neurons Experience wires the brain. Repetition strengthens the wiring
    • 15. INFANT BRAIN Born with a limited amount of neurological wiring. Nothing is wired in the higher region of the brain, known as the cerebellum. The hardware is in place and ready to wire but requires ‘earthly’ experiences and human interactions for the cells to forge neurological networks Networks that will become the foundation for thinking and reasoning, language, physical movement, and social and emotional behaviors.
    • 16. TODDLER BRAIN First three years: A child builds an estimated 1,000 trillion synapses through the experiences encountered Brain development does not stop after early childhood, but it is the foundation upon which the brain continues developing. It is the time to build either a strong and supportive, or fragile and unreliable foundation. These early years are very important in the development that continues in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
    • 17. CHILD BRAIN Just prior to puberty there is a period of growth and change that provides a great opportunity for hard-wiring positive lifelong habits, or conversely, for hard-wiring negative or detrimental lifelong habits. The neural network expands exponentially. If not used repeatedly, or often enough, they are eliminated in a process called pruning A sort of "use it or lose it" system for ensuring that the brain nourishes only the neurons and synapses that are useful. Pruning, which occurs in different parts of the brain at different times, also appears to allow the brain to think more efficiently.
    • 18. TEEN BRAIN The teenagers brain is, in some ways, closer to a childs brain than to an adults. The brain pruning and development moves from the back forward and from the inside out Brain’s C.E.O is last. Until prefrontal cortex has been pruned, there will be difficulty organizing several tasks, making good judgments, deciding, for example, which to do first: call a friend, wash the dishes, or read the book for a report thats due in the morning.
    • 19. TEEN BRAIN Blame this on the parts of his brain that process emotions and make decisions. The prefrontal cortex, is practically asleep at the wheel. At the same time, the limbic system, where raw emotions such as anger are generated, is entering a stage of development in which it goes into hyper-drive. These revved up emotional centers are probably also under the influence of sex hormones. This tumultuous period isnt completed in most people until their early 20’s Good news, this active rewiring at this stage indicates that even troubled teenagers can still learn restraint, judgment, and empathy
    • 20. STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION The ability to plan and adapt to the social environment The ability to imagine possible future consequences of action or to appropriately gauge their emotional significance Brain functions that enhance teens’ ability to connect gut feelings with their ability to help retrieve memories The ability to put situations into context The ability to remember past details about a situation that might be important The majority of adolescent brain functioning takes place in the ventral striatum, where decisions are made based on rewards and emotions without the back-up cognitive strength of the pre-frontal cortex.
    • 21. DIGITAL BRAIN INSIGHTS Engaging in tasks that exercise their brains, marshal their thoughts, measure their impulses, and prompt an understanding of abstract concepts, lays the neural foundations that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This hard-wiring also provides yet another reason for teens not to take drugs or alcohol, because they may permanently alter the balance of chemicals in their brains. New research shows that most children emerge from adolescence physically and emotionally intact
    • 22. CELEBRATION AND CONCERN21st Century Fluency Project Digital Learners: Prefer to process data and high speed information from multiple sources quickly Educators: Prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources Digital Learners: Study via parallel processing and absorb through multi-tasking Educators: Isolate from distraction and focus on the task at hand
    • 23. CELEBRATION AND CONCERN Digital Learners: Interactive digital imagery and animation has put text in a secondary role. Educators: Provide images to compliment text Digital Learners: Sensory bombardment has many students today being visual learners Educators: Still rely heavily on auditory lectures Digital Learners: “Just in time” Educators: “Just in case”
    • 24. CELEBRATION AND CONCERN Digital Learners: Provided instant gratification with immediate and deferred rewards -Affirmation -Attention -A chance to distinguish themselves Educators: Promote delayed gratification -Study hard and keep focused -You’ll eventually be rewarded -Good grades or acceptance to a good college
    • 25. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNContinuous Partial Attention (CPA) Separate from multitasking is a need/desire to split attention and constantly monitor incoming data across multiple platforms This constant scanning generates an artificial sense of constant crisis and the need for continual vigilance. CPA used as our dominant attention mode 24/7 , in an always on world, may lead to feeling overwhelmed, over-stimulated and to a sense of being unfulfilled.
    • 26. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNHyperlinked/Non linear Online Text Advantages to define words, provide additional instructions, or in depth related information Assume kids are as comfortable with digital texts as they are with written text if not more so. In fact, confused and overwhelmed by the overload of disconnected information Often get lost on a site, re-click already-visited areas by mistake, click randomly and indiscriminately, click on ads without realizing they were ads, fail to scroll down a page, and simply get frustrated and leave the site.
    • 27. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNSteady Social Connectivity and Communication Never having to be alone or far from friends; alleviates loneliness and boredom This reduces opportunity for self-reflection—which depends on having an emotion, experiencing it, sometimes electing to share it with another & thinking about it differently over time. Emotional interchanges are often reduced to the shorthand of emoticons (+;
    • 28. HOW YOU DOIN’?
    • 29. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNDigital Native Skills Gained Brains can process information at a greater speed Better at hand-eye coordination Improved peripheral vision Exposure to a larger, global community full of different cultures, languages, and human relationships
    • 30. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNDigital Natives Skills That Might Be Lost Ability to read facial cues and other non-verbal signs Understanding the concept of “personal space” The ability to empathize with people Thinking in a deeper level of introspection or understanding
    • 31. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNFlirtation and Dating Ambiguous flirtation that protects the sender if the feelings are not mutual “Dating” individuals who they never met “in person” “Facebook official”: relationship status solidified The intensity of intimate relationships signaled through shared pass-words, photographs, posting bulletins
    • 32. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNBreaking Up Via text…..or worse just noticing status change Require digital housecleaning; historical corollaries in ridding a bedroom or wallet of an ex-intimate’s pictures. Since old profiles can be saved, downloaded, copied, and circulated—the severing of a romantic relationship may involve leaving, or changing, the social network sites in the interest of privacy. Very difficult to establish boundaries to prevent interference.
    • 33. CELEBRATION AND CONCERNRelationships New media provides a venue that renders intimacy simultaneously more public and more private. Young people can now meet people, flirt, date, and break up outside of the earshot and eyesight of their parents and other adults While also doing these things in front of all of their online friends.
    • 35. IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT Adolescence marks an important stage in the development of one’s sense of self. Erikson claimed that adolescents require a psychosocial “time out,” during which they are free to contemplate and try on a variety of different roles Individuals use this process of self-reflection and experimentation to construct a personal identity that makes sense to them and is recognized by others. Feedback, particularly from peers, plays a central role in identity development.
    • 36. IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT Some concern with online profiles: Is “the self” increasingly becoming externally manufactured rather than internally developed? Blogs may assist in the process of identity exploration by providing a space online to write about and reflect on their emerging beliefs, values, and goals Is uploading pictures and poems on one’s Facebook profile similar to decorating a school locker or binder?
    • 37. IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT Is sexting digitally exacerbated normative adolescent behavior? In many cases, teens who conceal their sexting from authority figures have minimal adverse consequences Adult response style often exacerbates problem Authority figures in at least six states charge less troubled teens who send naked pictures of themselves with distributing child pornography!
    • 38. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT On the friendship-driven side, online spaces and communications media are seen as places to hang out with their friends similar to the mall or front stoop We over schedule our kids, not home after school to “play” outside with friends. Opportunity to casually connect with friends and engage in private communication that is not monitored by parents and teachers
    • 39. AUTONOMY Adolescents’ search for autonomy is difficult in today’s society due to them having little unstructured time and few public spaces open to them that are not supervised by adults. The proliferation of new digital media has amplified parents’ monitoring capabilities, even when they are geographically separated from their children Within this context, many adolescents turn to the Internet as a space to communicate with their friends
    • 40. AUTONOMY Quest for autonomy often coincides with the realization that one’s parents are imperfect individuals whose authority should be limited Not surprising that many adolescents deem the Internet outside the bounds of legitimate parental authority Keeping this in mind, understandable that adolescents seek to delete the search history on their computers, refuse to “friend” their parents on Facebook, or create “mirror” profiles known only to their friends
    • 41. AUTONOMY Like parents who enter their kids’ bedrooms without knocking or listen in on their conversations, kids view these acts as a violation of trust. They also see these online invasions as “clueless,” ill informed, and lacking in basic social propriety. Parents’ participation is often perceived as controlling and disrespectful Adolescent rebellion is not a new phenomenon. The way it is carried out with new digital media, however, is new. The ease of circumventing parental monitoring complicates the way that parents establish and exert their authority
    • 42. PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP High risk of power struggles and mutual loss of trust Avoid sudden emotional changes in parenting style Overreaction or anger, banning technology, or suddenly installing monitoring software can have unintended, sometimes risky effects and workarounds.
    • 43. PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS If a parent is disengaged from the new media, there is a risk of creating an intergenerational wedge. Must be attuned to the norms that exist or our children will perceive them as raw and ill-informed exercises of power If parents can trust that their own values are being transmitted through their ongoing communication with their children, then new media practices can be sites of shared focus rather than anxiety and tension.
    • 44. It’s 6 PM….Do you know where your children are?
    • 45. Hmmm…SO WHAT DO WE DO?? Reality checks. Our kids deserve reminders that there is much more to life and them, than that conveyed online and in school. Balance. This is pretty intuitive for parents, the need to help kids balance the activities in their lives – social, academic, onscreen, off-screen, etc. But go deeper. With constant exposure to friends’ thinking, do kids have enough chances for the reflection and independent thought that help them figure out who they are in relation to it all?
    • 46. Hmmm…SO WHAT DO WE DO?? Guidance. This is intuitive for parents, too, but how do we offer that guidance as digital immigrants? The command- and-control, sage-on-the-stage way, or as guide by the side? Leadership vs. Authority Adult response to stimuli tends to be more intellectual, while teens’ is often more "from the gut.” This suggests that while the changeability of the adolescent brain is well suited to meet the demands of teen life, guidance from adults are essential while this decision- making circuitry is being formed
    • 47. PARENT DEVELOPMENT People who become parents and are involved in the raising of children are transformed and follow a different developmental trajectory than people who do not engage in parenting roles It is likely that the more engaged a parent is, the more his or her adult development will be affected
    • 48. PARENT DEVELOPMENTStages of Parenthood Image-making Stage: Before the baby comes you form an image of the parent you want to become before your baby is born or brought into the family. Nurturing Stage: Birth to 18 months-This is a time of forming attachment with the child and identifying yourself as a parent. Interpretive Stage: Age 5 through elementary school -During the interpretive stage, you must explain yourself to your child. The questions will grow as your childs language and understanding expands.
    • 49. PARENT DEVELOPMENTStages of Parenthood, Con’t. Interdependent Stage: Teen years The challenges of this stage are similar to the authority stage in preschool years but the stakes are higher. Your child is figuring out how to be a teenager. Fights over authority arise again but this time with bigger decisions. Although they are taught to say "No," teens have a need to experiment.
    • 50. PARENT DEVELOPMENTStages of Parenthood Con’t. Departure Stage: Age varies During the departure stage, again there are images of death, separation, and distancing. Parents imagine where their children will go and who they will be with. They reflect on their parenting and how they affected the people their children have become. Parents judge themselves.
    • 51. ADULT DEVELOPMENT The adult life structure evolves through a sequence of alternating periods each lasting some five to seven years. A period of building and maintaining a life structure is followed by a transitional period in which we terminate the existing structure and move toward a new one that will fully emerge in the ensuing structure building-maintaining period.
    • 52. ADULT DEVELOPMENT The evolution of everyone’s life involves: -Stability and change -Continuity and discontinuity -Orderly progression as well as regression and chaotic flux. The issue of identity formation gets re-visited Risk-taking, loss, fear, and anxiety are normative
    • 53. SELF REFLECTION AND ASSESSMENT As digital immigrants we need to learn the language and culture if we are to parent most effectively. To be successful and satisfied, parents need to learn more than what to do and what to say to your children. Possessing sensitivity to your own needs as well as your children’s developmental needs is important Parents need help developing a clearer understanding of our expectations and values for our children and for ourselves as parents.
    • 54. SELF REFLECTION AND ASSESSMENT Values clarification along with our reactions to disappointment and frustration, gives us the emotional tools to deal with issues and difficulties in ways that benefit both children and parents. Need to review your expectations , how you deal with anxiety Need to assess our current level of functioning overall
    • 55. To Continue This Conversation and Others….Life Coaching and Empowerment Groups and Workshops Navigating the Middle School Maze Courtship, Romance, and Hooking Up Footloose, Fancy Free, and Freaking Out Family life in the Digital AgeSpeaking EngagementsIndividual/ Family/Small Business CoachingConsultations-Formulations-RecommendationsIndividual, Family, Parenting Coaching
    • 56. THANK YOU!!! Susan Hughes May, Ph.D. Journey’s Way Coaching and Consulting 678-756-1546 A New Start Counseling Center 770-461-9944