This week, Carrie Kerpen shared concise and meaningful tips for families to engage with their children’s digital media and help them succeed online. In response to parental concerns for cyberbullying, personal privacy, and stranger danger online, she and her husband choose to use what they call POEM to balance their concerns with their understanding that technology for kids (and adults) offers meaningful opportunities for personal expression and social connection. By emphasizing Participation, Open communication, Education, and Monitoring, Kerpen embraces the complexities of raising kids in a digital age:

The reality is that just like us, our kids are using technology to move forward. And that’s a good thing. The tricky part is figuring out how to allow our kids to try new things while also keeping them safe—and keeping ourselves from freaking out.

At the heart of Kerpen’s suggestions is the openness to the range of possibilities in a digital world. While fear is understandable and a knee-jerk reaction to dramatically reduce or eliminate screens makes temporary sense, it’s the active and conscientious engagement with technology which allows us to learn together. As she noted, with communication, it’s not just about the rules, it’s also about the feelings that social media brings up. Staying engaged in a way that keeps youth feeling safe and supported in their social and emotional contexts of digital living is exactly what will help them succeed online.

As families begin to consider or reexamine their digital practices and family agreements, keeping core values in mind serves to integrate on and offline priorities. Hueya’s Family Technology Agreements offer guidance for families as they begin this process, together.