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Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 09 Nov 2015 3:11pm () Replies (11)

This blog post by Richard Bruford, 'Are parent behaviours with their use of technology having an impact on their child’s development?', got me thinking about my own use of technology around my children.

In it he highlights some key questions from a presentation by Dr Steiner-Adair:

  • How attached are we to our mobile devices?
  • How often are we checking for emails, messages and notifications?
  • How we are using mobile technology to record many aspects of our lives and also those of our children?

I know that I don't like having unread emails or in particular notification alerts on my devices. I like there to be no little red notification spots on the icons on my phone.

Do I, as a parent ensure my focus is on my children when I talk to them? Or am I just "listening" to them (or not). I know that I have caught myself "listening" to my children while doing something else online and then had to apologise and ask them to repeat what they have said. They are more important than that.

Of course this goes further than just with our own children. What about with our students? Colleagues? Friends?

  • What do you do to ensure people come first?
  • Do you have any routines in your home, class, school or life to ensure those you're with have your full attention?
  • How does your school engage with your community around digital citizenship?

You might be interested in the Enabling e-Learning page on Digital citizenship and cyber-safety in the community.


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 24 Nov 2015 10:55am ()

    This is an important point Nathaniel - being good role models around digital technologies.

    I'm guilty of never being too far from my phone or laptop. Being told off for being on my phone during swimming lessons is a good example. I do work from these sources, so it's hard to remove them from sight around our children.

    I did love the photo of the older person enjoying the Pope's visit, instead of having to capture it. I also feel when you get behind the camera, you lose the experience of that moment too. 

    I try to have a one-day turn around for emails, but I also know how addictive it can be to check if your chickens have been fed in Hayday and I'm often put out if my partner answers the phone in the middle of me talking... I guess its all about balance, whatever that looks like? smiley

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 24 Nov 2015 11:01am ()

    Almost forgot about this video too. What do you think of this?


  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 24 Nov 2015 12:44pm ()

    Interesting times we live in .... I realize I have strong views on the values that underlie how and when we use devices/follow up on txts/attend calls, but I also acknowledge that there are times when it is appropriate.

    When in company of intimate family, or friends, or colleagues, or in the middle of a shopping transaction ... when holding conversations with them or taking time out to be in their 'company', I believe it is about basic values and manners and we demonstrate where our value lies when we attend to that txt that just came through, or answer the call coming in, or pick up our screens and 'check something'.  The message we give is clear - those 'others' are more important in this moment, than you.

    Of course there are going to be times when you have been waiting for a particular txt or call that is of importance and must be attended to, but establishing this expectancy that this may happen, at the beginning of a meet-up with someone face-to-face is easily done.  The exception is probably those who are 'on-call' as a requirement of their work.

    You feel secondary to the 'thing' on the screen or the person down the phone line when in the company of someone who attends to it partway through interacting with you.  Values elicit emotions in people.

    I believe there will be noticeable 'people skills' emerge with those who can manage these complexities skillfully, making sure the company they are in is valued over and above  the 'expediency' technology provides to 'interrupt'. 



  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 27 Nov 2015 11:02am ()

    Values and manners - thank you Anjela, you've hit the nail on the head. When people choose their phone over me - mid-sentence, it feels like the 'other person' (doesn't matter who it is) is more important than me. 

    It's about balance again. I understand the necessity for work reasons, but if then again, if someone checked their phone in front of me and said, "All good, I'll get back to them soon or I've really got to take this call is that ok?" I'd feel a lot better. Or is that unreasonable? frown

    Image source: Wikipedia

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 27 Nov 2015 11:10am ()

    Yes - values and manners! That's what it's all about. And yes, I agree Anje that there are ways to manage things if we know we're expecting an important call. 

    What values are we teaching our children or students if we don't stop, put down our device and focus on them (or anyone else we're with)?

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 8:12am ()

    James Hopkins shares some really interesting points in his blog post Time to put it down?

    It's about showing "presence" in the different situations that we're in. While it's focused more on teenagers, I think some of us adults can relate to being "at home in a digital world".

    What are our expectations of our children or our students around digital device use when we're talking with them? Do we have the same expectations for ourselves?

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 8:36am ()

    Interestingly, I have noticed more recently that when I am in the company of other adults, if my phone indicates a txt has come in, or a call is coming in, and I continue to ignore it, I am often prompted or questioned if I want to get that call, or check that txt. I say "no, it can wait", or " Our conversation is more important to me, I'll check later", to try and share my values around the potentially interrupting use of technology by people. We choose to take the call, check the txt, check status of social networks, the technology does not demand it.

    The exception to my response is if I am expecting an important potential interruption, and I begin with " at some stage of our time together, I may receive a call (txt etc ) and I will need to respond, so apologies in advance" ..something like that.

    It would seem as though we are becoming conditioned to the interruptions of tech via the recipient, and that this is 'normal' and 'okay'.

    No, not okay.

  • Clare Jordan (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 8:40am ()

    I cannot help but find this post very interesting. I don't have a problem with people using technology whilst interacting with me at all and I am not a "digital native". 

    I think this is because being a small, middle aged woman I have been used to people ignoring me or interrupting me in the middle of my sentences for a long time!!

    If I was offended by people not listening to me, or talking over the top of me, I would be constantly annoyed. I do think that the value of letting people know that you are engaging with them and not someone else is quite important, but as far as turning off technology so that you can interact with your family or friends, I'm not sure. To achieve what end exactly? Greater happiness? More learning? A tribal sense of connection so that you are ready to defend at any moment - I need to know what it is that this showing "presence" achieves.........

    The people that I interact with (my family, my co-workers) know that I am there for them, but often delegate me to last position because they know that I am there for them. We all continue to use technology ubiquitously. I think we need to evolve....

  • Campbell Potter (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 9:40am ()

    I agree with you Clare. Evolution of how we interact is where we are at. Times are changing and so should we. Using our devices while hanging out with people is not offensive in itself. What is offensive is ignoring or devaluing someone's contributions to the conversation. The two are not mutually inclusive.

    I would be offended if someone was scrolling their Facebook feed while occasionally making comments or eye contact with me during a conversation. I would not be offended by someone quickly checking who a message is from or what it says. Who knows it may be something important yet unexpected, like a friend of mine recently got a message his wife who was in a minor road accident just down the road and she needed him.

    Devices are used to enhance and increase our interactions and while they should not be used in place of genuine face to face interaction that does not mean it should be one or the other. Often they are used to record moments with photos and share this with a wider group in the moment, remember things talked about, show something interesting, share something for later etc.

    If people feel strongly about not interrupting their conversations by showing the discipline of not checking, I think that is great and would really value how much that person puts into our relationship. If that is something you really value then leave your phone on silent and only check it when it suits you, simply by having it signal you when you receive a message means you intended to check that as soon as it came through anyway and it becomes the elephant in the conversation with the other person thinking are they gonna check that and you think or saying you are more important I'll check that later so the intrupption is still there anyway.

    I am an advocate for sensible and responsible use of device when managing relationships and that does not include turning them off. We do need to be conscious and present for the people around us but we can and do quickly check our devices without having to add a caveat to the start of conversation like "by the way this conversation may be interrupted by an important call I am expecting.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 15 Dec 2015 9:19am ()

    Managing digital interactions in a...

    • Sensible √
    • Responsible √
    • Discerning √
    • Respectful √
    • Timely √
    • Appropriate √

    ... manner, doesn't come easy for some!

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Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship

A group to support schools help their students, staff and whānau become digital citizens