I’m not a parent, but I’ve seen them in the wild. They’re often flustered, stressed, high-strung individuals, blindly heading down a path that they have no way of knowing is the right one, accompanied by an inescapable feeling of isolation. That’s silly, says I, since they have so much potential to learn from and offer support to each other to lighten some of the load for all of them. And in a relatively uncharted frontier like the Internet, it’s great that there are websites like Common Sense Media to give parents the helping hand they may not even know they need.
CSM has a multitude of resources for parents from movie reviews of family titles to materials for education and discussion. Recently, they started an ad campaign encouraging parents to talk to their children about their digital lives. It’s a great campaign, focusing on the awkwardness that ensues when a parent feels that they have to intervene with their child’s media diet but isn’t sure how. One of the ads, featuring a mom wary about her daughter’s computer usage, calls attention to the highly relatable parental tactic of giving their child a kiss on the head so they can sneak a look at what’s on their computer screen.
And Common Sense doesn’t stop there; the contest mentioned in the headline asks parents to share their own awkward stories about how they interact with their child and the Internet. The company really shines here, and here’s why: the campaign focuses not on the ads, but on the parents. CSM readily admits that they expect the parental stories to surpass their own ads in terms of engagement, which also shows that they understand the potential of crowdsourcing compared to in-house production. Their primary goal is to get parents talking to their kids, which I can’t bring myself to describe as anything but “extremely noble”.
If you’re a parent, poke around the site or check out their Facebook page. I can’t get too much out of this material, since it’s not for me, but I’m curious to see what Mom and Dad think about the tactics and suggestions addressed here.