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What we learnt from Digital Parenting Week 2021

Digital Parenting Week 2021 was an opportunity to bring families together to think about their digital wellbeing. We were delighted that over 700 schools and organisations across the UK registered to be involved – a significant increase on last year. You can read about the week's highlights here

Ollee has already been downloaded as an app over 600 times and we estimate to have reached around 1 million parents through our events and resources. 

The week was also an opportunity for us to learn more about how parents and families feel about their digital lives, and the kinds of support they need most. Here’s what we learnt:

1. Parents want to be involved 

Many of the parents we spoke to over the course of the week told us they were feeling worried about keeping up to date with their child’s online interests. From viral hoax challenges to streaming-service hits, parents want to understand and be involved in the things their children experience online. 

While the rate of change and the emergence of new trends can feel overwhelming, this desire to keep in tune with their children is a real positive. Taking an active interest in your child’s online life and talking regularly about what they enjoy and experience is important, and will help encourage them to come to you if they encounter something concerning or upsetting. 

Remember you don’t have to be an expert. If you don’t understand their favourite game, ask them to explain it to you, or even play a few levels together. 

2. Young people self-manage effectively

Young people shared their own definitions of digital wellbeing in VoiceBox’s new report. This was an impactful and illuminating read – particularly where respondents shared the advice they would give their children on managing life online, if they were parents. 

There came a few surprises. While parents are often concerned about screen time or the negative impact of time spent online, many respondents referenced their own self-management techniques, like knowing when to walk away or take time off from a platform if it was becoming stressful. 

They also told VoiceBox they understood parental restrictions on particular apps or websites – and many would impose similar boundaries on their own children. 

3. Families want to enjoy tech together

Coming together was a theme for the week, and we were really pleased to see families all across the UK enjoying our digital wellbeing activities with each other. 

Our 7 Day Digital Wellbeing Challenge was particularly popular, with families making positivity playlists and spending time exploring each other’s favourite platforms and interests. 

4. Ollee can support health interventions

We held a fascinating round table with representatives and experts from various organisations and sectors to discuss the impact and potential of Ollee the app. 

It was particularly exciting to hear the app’s potential in the healthcare sector, and the value it can have in social prescribing for children and young people, especially when it comes to early interventions.

5. Individual support for common issues

We were proud to launch Parent Zone Local during Digital Parenting Week. This neighbourhood version of Parent Zone provides tailored local information and support, and is currently available across four London boroughs (Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Croydon). Our launch and Facebook Live sessions had a great response, with lots of parents getting in touch for individualised support. 

When talking to these parents about their concerns, what came across most clearly was that there are many concerns that unite parents, regardless of their individual situation. Tailored advice can make a big difference – and we’ll be introducing more themed Parent Zone Local session in the near future – but it’s important to remember that if you’re struggling with the role of digital parent, you’re certainly not alone!

Read more about Digital Parenting Week 2021 here.