PARENTING IN THE DIGITAL AGE DESIGNING A DIGITAL PLATFORM TO SUPPORT PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
Keio University (JAPAN)
Many previous studies have shown that parental involvement is good and necessary. But in our busy modern life, being involved might seem intrusive and difficult to fit into many parents’ already busy lives. In Japan, the busy life style and limited free time create greater pressure for parents to their parenting. Especially working mothers, the reduced time that working mothers spend at home with their children due to work hours becomes a tradeoff. In a society where the tasks of parenting and early childhood education are mainly expected as mothers’ responsibilities, as a result Japanese working mothers face challenges to become fully involvement in the parenting and learning process of their children. To overcome this issue, many outsource the parenting tasks hoping their children would receive the best of care and teaching. In digital age, some parents turn to for outsourcing their parenting tasks is digital technology. The advancement of digital media devices and digital interactive contents has created a popular tool for parenting and education. Many children are fascinated by the interactivity and fun experience of operating digital devices and their constant focus on the digital devices and contents give parents the freedom to relax or conduct other activities.
Some parents feel that digital devices are very useful. They feel digital media offer great potentials to make parenting easier, because there are many activities to keep their children occupied and entertained while learning new things. On the other hand, parents worry that children will get bad influence if they spend so much time on these devices. And also some parents worry about how to teach their children when using digital media.
In digital age, it means parents have to face the dilemma of digital media on childhood parenting. The current focus of digital parenting and learning mainly centers of providing children rich and entertaining learning materials, which does not directly help busy life parents in improving their involvement in providing their children parenting and pre-elementary school learning. However, as a tool that is enjoyed by children, and can easily be used daily by parents, digital media may offer great potentials in supporting parents to become more involved in parenting efficiently with their busy schedule and lifestyle.
This research discussed digital parenting platform design and provided a practical plan, a digital parenting tool and a series of user study for evaluating, using, and integrating educational technology in early childhood parenting and learning. The work presented in this research is meant to serve as an exploration to the possibilities of improving working mothers’ parenting skill through the use of digital technology. With further research and development, there is hope to discover more ways in which digital technology can improve work-life balance support for busy modern life parents in parent-child interactions. This work also aims to contribute to provide the procedures and supporting requirements of parenting and learning in the digital age.