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Digital Parenting Week 2021: what's on?

Digital Parenting Week is a chance for us to recognise and celebrate the vital role that parents play in supporting children growing up in a connected world. This year’s Digital Parenting Week runs from Monday 11 to Friday 15 October – and all our events and activities have one theme: wellbeing. 

What is digital wellbeing, and why is it so important?

We know that wellbeing means how comfortable, healthy and happy we are. But what about digital wellbeing? How does the time we spend online influence our comfort, health and happiness?

Digital wellbeing is the emotional experience we have when we use technology. It is an awareness of how being online makes you feel. It is also about how we look after ourselves and others online. 

This depends on what we do and look at – the choices we make, including how long we are online for, the platforms we use and the interactions we have. 

Digital Parenting Week 2021 is all about promoting family digital wellbeing. Any professional who wants to support family wellbeing can sign up to get involved – with a free resource a pack with activities to support family digital wellbeing. 

A commitment to children’s mental wellbeing

Why the focus on wellbeing? Young people’s mental health has been affected by the pandemic as well as the vast changes to the online world. Their wellbeing needs to be a focus now more than ever. 

A 2021 survey by NHS Digital found that one in six children and young people aged 6 to 19 have probable mental disorders. A recent attitudes survey by the Girl Guiding Association also found that 67% of girls and young women surveyed aged 7-21 feel more sad, anxious or worried as a result of the pandemic. 

UNICEF’s The State of the World's Children 2021 says that: 

“commitment, communication and action [are called for]  as part of a comprehensive approach to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children and care for children facing the greatest challenges.” 

Digital Parenting Week 2021 supports this commitment, with a range of events and free resources for families and professionals. 

Ollee – a digital friend for your device 

Technology and being online should – and does – enhance our lives. However, we will all have had times when being online has affected our wellbeing in some way, and impacted how we feel about ourselves, our friendships and relationships. 

Ollee is a free virtual friend for children aged 8-11 – offering emotional advice and helping families to communicate better about their feelings. 

It is now available to download in the App Store and Play Store for your device or tablet.

Download on the App Store       Get it on Google Play

You can also use Ollee on any connected browser. By opening and connecting accounts, children and parents can share advice and have conversations about their wellbeing – as well as explore mindful videos and more.

Professionals can find free educational resources in the Ollee Hub

Find Your Balance

As part of our push for family digital wellbeing and search for a better balance, Google and Parent Zone have launched a creative competition for children aged 5 to 11. 

The Find your Balance: A day in my digital life competition is searching the UK for inspiring artists to create a picture that reflects a day in their digital life – and shows how their family balances their on- and offline lives. 

All entries will be seen by a judging panel and 50 winners will get the chance to see their artwork on display in Westminster. Two overall national winners will also win a family trip to London, with some spending money too! 

Check out the gallery to inspire some creativity!

Join us for Tech Shock Podcast Live

Family digital wellbeing cannot be achieved in a toxic online environment, and we believe the Online Safety Bill is a vital opportunity in making the internet a safer space for everyone who uses it. 

In a blog, Parent Zone founder and CEO Vicki Shotbolt discusses the Bill and what it means for online safety for children and young people. New legislation in the Online Safety Bill, is aiming to change.

To launch Digital Parenting Week, you can join Vicki, Jonathan Baggaley of the PSHE Association and other guests for live recording of the Tech Shock podcast, with discussion centring on the Online Safety Bill. 

The podcast will also explore a new Digital Wellbeing report from VoiceBox – discussing the impact on the wellbeing and relationships of young people from the lack of age verification on porn sites.

Tell us what you’re doing for Digital Parenting Week

Don’t forget to share what you have done during Digital Parenting Week by contacting dpw@parentzone.org.uk or tagging us on social media, using #DPW2021