ELIANT Conference November 28th, 2017
TOWARDS A HEALTHY DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
Closing Panel, Summary
Theme: A culture of citizenship is vital to Europe as well as to the rest of the world. Support is needed if children and adults are to cultivate the human values that are required. How important is it for children to find access to the digital world in an age-appropriate way?
There was a lively, fast moving exchange driven along by pointed questions, short pithy answers and without electronic presentations.
Panellists drew on the preceding discussions in their workshops to inspire, stimulate and in some cases provoke the audience. Panellists highlighted their most significant experiences in the workshops and raised questions that opened up new perspectives on the next steps.
The panellists represented different entry points into the discussion:
Edwin Huebner, anthroposophical pedagogy,
Franz Glaw, the use of media in Waldorf schools,
Georg Soldner, anthroposophical paediatrics,
Joan Almon, Alliance for Childhood campaign
Konstantin Scheller, Directorate General of Education and Culture, European Commission.
Facilitator: Shanti George, Learning for Well-being Foundation and Community.
It was acknowledged in the discussion that while digital technology cannot be avoided in today's world, there are legitimate concerns about its potentially negative impact on children, families and society. Building on this consensus a lively debate then ensued about how to address these issues and retain our core human values in a digitalized world?
Through the exchange between panellists and the knowledgeable audience it was noted that:
- By drawing on previous experiences with alcohol, tobacco and car use, healthy ways of integrating digital media into the lives of both children and adults can be found.
- Enhancing public awareness of these issues can with the help of supportive legislation, encourage the changes in behaviour mentioned above.
- High school students should receive an education in parenting that includes the balanced use of digital media within families. This would enhance current levels of parental guidance. The coaching of parents is very necessary today.
- The vocational training of teachers should prepare them better for the digital age.
- The three ‘worlds’ – the real world, the virtual world and the inner world – need to be sensitively integrated. Children should be able to play and start life grounded in their sensory surroundings that includes their natural environment.
A hopeful sign came when high school students from Waldorf schools who had attended a workshop arranged specially for them, described how they could use digital technology in a balanced way in their lives.