By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
The International School of Beijing’s (ISB) Media Mentor Month is an annual initiative encouraging parents to talk to their children about what they are doing with their digital devices. Being online opens a world of possibility but it also comes with risk. Media Mentor Month has assumed even more relevance now, as coronavirus and the temporary closure of the ISB campus have thrust the community onto an adventure in eLearning.
For March, ISB is circulating calendars in English, Chinese, and Korean suggesting activities that parents can use as ways to engage with their daughters or sons on what they are doing on screen. From looking up laws on digital streaming to playing video games together, the activities are designed to help facilitate conversations at home so adults can work to become Media Mentors for their children.
The calendars build on Responsible Use Agreements that ISB has drawn up for Middle and High School. These are focused on guiding students to make good choices while using technology and interacting online, both at school and at home. ISB has in previous years invited parents to workshops helping develop a framework for their own Family Technology Agreements.
“By starting with four major discussion points – when, where, and how long we use technology; balanced use of technology; checking on our use of technology; responsible behavior when using technology – we can help guide families to have a conversation around the use of technology that mirrors their own values and involves the entire family in setting up agreements,” wrote Clint Hamada, coordinator of ISB’s Mentor Mentor Month, this time last year.
Tech plays a big role at ISB. The school gives all its students an Apple device – an iPad from Kindergarten to Grade 4 and a MacBook from Grades 5 to 12. But faculty always ensure the technology is being used safely and responsibly, through a range of teaching and practical measures. That’s the case now more than ever.