Parents want to know

Just finished giving a Cyber Bullying presentation to some parents at our school. Coming away from the meeting I’m shocked, but probably shouldn’t be. Here are some quotes from parents that have stuck with me:

“My 4th grader knowns more then I do, how do I keep up?”
“Can you tell me what age I should allow my student on the Internet?”
“What do you think is the right age for students to have their own computer?”
“43% of 3-5 graders (at my school) have their own web site? Are you sure about that?”
“What’s a blog?”
“Are online games safe?”
“What is the school doing about cyberbullying happening outside of school hours?”
“I wish I knew what he/she was doing, but I just can’t keep up.”

Those are just the ones I remembered. I had a presentation that should have lasted about 30 minutes. The first questions started flying after What is CyberBullying and from there it was conversation. A GREAT conversation with parents on what is happening. At one point a parent of a Middle School student said “My kid keeps telling me ‘you just don’t understand us!'” How powerful is that, and how true. A hour and a half later the parents decided that they wanted to continue the conversation next month at the next parent coffee and they want to organize parenting classes so they can learn about blogs, and the other stuff their kids are doing online. They also want to arrange a K-12 parent night on technology and their students.

Now, how much of all of this will happen, I’m not sure. What was shocking to me and probably shouldn’t have been was:

1. How pumped parents were to receive any and all information about technology and what their kids are actually doing with it. Not so much in school, but out of school.
2. How little they knew about the cyber world their students were involved in. Some where down right shocked to find out that 3rd graders have their own web site at xanga.com.

3. The thrusting for knowledge that was felt. I couldn’t get through one slide of the presentation without questions about this or that.

It was a great hour and a half. We started a conversation and one that I hope continues in the coming weeks/months. I share with you the two parts of the presentation under the Creative Commons License of this blog.

The Cyberbullying PowerPoint and the Video of 7th graders teaching 5th graders about cyberbullying.