For many parents, figuring out how to get children to disconnect from screens can be a frustrating, daily challenge. But is it all bad? How concerned should parents be about excessive screen time and kids? This fall, McGill’s Department of Educational Counselling Psychology will be hosting a virtual series of three weekly lectures that will address the best ways for parents to raise kids in the digital age — all for free.
The Effective Parenting in the Digital Age seminars was supposed to take place in the spring at the university but was cancelled because of the pandemic. So, the seminars were rescheduled for the fall via Zoom. They will take place Wednesday evenings from October 21 to November 4. The lectures are designed to give parents a better understanding of how to help their children and teenagers develop. This year’s goal is to teach parents about the behaviours and consequences that result when children spend too much time on the internet. This particular theme, says one of the seminar’s speakers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology Dr. Adam Dubé, is even more prevalent as children around the world are now spending more time online than ever.
Dr. Dubé will be hosting the first lecture on Oct. 21 about The Impact of Digital Learning. He will share resources that are available online that could help children overcome learning problems or reinforce concepts that have been learned in school. He has refocused his seminar to provide tips and strategies for parents on digital and remote learning during COVID-19. He will discuss how to identify good online learning tools for the kids, whether they’re in elementary or high school, or at university.
Psychologist Dr. Victoria Talwar will host a lecture on Social Media and Cyberbullying on Oct. 28. She will be discussing “the good, the bad and the ugly” of growing up in the digital age. She will give an overview of the positives as well as negatives. She will also give tips for parents on how to deal with cyberbullying, what signs to look for if your child is being bullied online and how to help them.
On Nov. 4, Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky will be giving an overview about Youth Gaming as well as how to recognize warning signs that it is becoming problematic.
The lectures will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and will take place on Zoom. Each lecture lasts 45 minutes followed by a 30-minute question and answer session.
Each online seminar can accept as many as 300 parents. Unlike other years, these seminars are free, but the department will instead be accepting donations. Dubé says that the department decided to wave the fee as more parents may be more strapped due to the pandemic. He adds that moving the series online also allows them to reach out to more parents worldwide and not everyone would be able to afford the usual ticket fee of $80.
For more information or to register, click here.