On Sunday, October 21 and Sunday, October 28, Parkway will host a “Parenting in the Digital Age” panel discussion. Technology has changed all of our lives. As with all good things, over use and dependence on technology can produce negative and sometimes dangerous effects.

Here are some facts you may not be aware of:

According to The Pew Research Council, 92% of teens report going online daily; of that 24% go online “almost constantly.”

22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than ten times a
day according to a study in Pediatrics.

According to Nielsen, the average American devotes about 10 hours and 39 minutes each day to consuming media. That’s 65% of awake hours.

Science Daily reports female college students spend 62% of waking hours on cell phones, males 50%.

BMC Public Health reports that 90% of 9th grade girls and 70% of boys use screens for more than two hours per day.

According to The Atlantic Monthly, the number of teens who get together with their friends nearly every day dropped by more than 40% from 2000 to 2015; the decline has been especially steep recently.

The goal of our panel discussions is not to vilify technology, but to provide information to help parents make the best decisions on the use of technology in their households. There are plenty of ways parents can find the right balance of technology in their family’s everyday life. There will be time for attendees to ask questions and there will be handouts available about commonly used apps as well as apps that can be used for monitoring your child’s cell phones and devices.

Children will attend Sunday School during the panel discussion. We hope that you will not only attend, but that you will invite friends and neighbors. If you are not a parent and would be willing to work with our children during these sessions, please let me know. I want to be sure that all of our parents have the chance to attend. At a later date, I will hold a digital safety lesson with the children during our Wednesday night program.

I hope you will all mark October 21 and 28 on your calendars for these important discussions!