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What happened during Digital Parenting Week 2021?

At Parent Zone, we know that parents play a vital role in bringing up happy, resilient children. Digital Parenting Week is a chance for us to say thank you and celebrate the role that parents play in supporting children growing up in a connected world. 

This year’s Digital Parenting Week focused on the theme of digital wellbeing. All activities and events throughout the week explored different ways to bring families together to think about how their digital lives made them feel, and how they could boost their digital wellbeing.

We were thrilled that more than 700 schools and organisations registered to be involved this year. Here’s a look at some of the highlights. 

Ollee round table

Digital Parenting Week marked the launch of Ollee - the app. Alongside lots of new features, Ollee is also now available as a native app which can be downloaded for free from the Apple and Google Play stores. 

To mark the launch we hosted a round table with a wide range of organisations, experts and professionals, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England and the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition. 

Having had great success in our work with the education sector, this roundtable allowed us to share Ollee with the healthcare sector, who provided us with insights as to how they felt Ollee could be used. They agreed that Ollee was particularly useful to help children open up and that it provided them with a safe space to talk about issues that they might be uneasy discussing with an adult.

It was especially encouraging to hear from the healthcare professionals who were enthusiastic about using Ollee as an early intervention tool and in supporting children who were waiting for an intervention to start. We’ll be taking this insight on board – so watch this space!

Ollee app launch

We also hosted an official launch event for Ollee, and were delighted that so many different organisations joined us to be a part of it.  

This was an opportunity to explain the app’s new features and the development process, including discussions with the young people and schools who use Ollee and to inform organisations about how they could use Ollee within their work.

We had some fantastic feedback from the attendees: 

“I want to congratulate you on the Ollee launch. It was excellent: engaging, fast-moving, informative and very well organised. I’ll be sure to recommend Ollee whenever I can.”

VoiceBox’s digital wellbeing report

We commissioned youth content platform VoiceBox to publish a report into what digital wellbeing means for young people. 

This report provided some amazing insights into how young people view their time spent online – and the guidance they would give their children should they become parents in the future. They were enthusiastic about technology but remained aware of the risks involved in life online. They emphasised the need for balance and the importance of finding using technology for enjoyment. You can read the full report here.

Tech Shock Live

The Digital Parenting Week episode of the Tech Shock podcast was a special live video session, featuring Natalie Foos and Lottie Gimlette from VoiceBox and Jonathan Baggaley from the PSHE Association. 

They discussed VoiceBox’s digital wellbeing report, as well as the forthcoming Online Safety Bill. Among the concerns raised was how the lack of age verification on porn sites affected young people’s wellbeing and their opinions about sex and relationships. 

Parent Zone Local launch and Facebook Live

Digital Parenting Week also marked the launch of Parent Zone Local, a neighbourhood version of Parent Zone, funded by Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Croydon.

To accompany this launch, we held six Facebook Live sessions for parents and organisations in the four London boroughs to explain more about what Parent Zone Local has to offer. These information sessions were a great opportunity to discuss any questions in detail and to introduce parents to the wide range of resources and activities available. 

What our supporters said 

We had some really encouraging feedback from our supporters and those who took part in Digital Parenting Week: 

Drew Smith, Zoom’s Government Relations Manager: “This is a fantastic initiative and Zoom are delighted to be supporting the brilliant team at Parent Zone.”

Natterhub, Ollee launch attendee: “A wonderful launch event for #Ollee2, and so inspiring to hear how young people are being supported by the app. Congratulations to Parent Zone and BBC Children in Need.”

Meadow Farm Community Primary school: “We’ve been supporting Digital Parenting Week to help our community feel happier and healthier both online and off.”

NCA-CEOP, Digital Parenting Week supporter: “We support digital parenting week because it’s a chance for us to join in the collective thanks to parents and carers for all they have done to support their child online.”

Read more about what we learnt this Digital Parenting Week here.