Helping Our Kids Navigate their Digital Lives: National Expert Katey McPherson Offers Advice and Insight to Heathwood Parents

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Be a good mentor, help teach and model good screen time, and distinguish between digital "candy" and digital "vegetables." Those were some of the key recommendations from Katey McPherson, a nationally recognized expert in youth mental health who also has 25 years of experience as a teacher, school administrator, and guidance counselor, when she met virtually with Heathwood parents on February 5.

McPherson's presentation, "Generation NEXT: How to Reach, Teach, and Support Your iGen Student," focused on the vexing issues all parents face when their children begin building digital lives. While not flinching away from some of the most disturbing elements of the online experiences of adolescents, McPherson advocates a thoughtful, balanced, and realistic approach: recognize that not all screen time is bad, limit the less healthy time your child does spend online, learn to recognize the signs that your child is suffering from his or her digital experience, and above all, teach children dignity and the recognition that no online encounter can take our dignity from us.

Just as important as the do's and don'ts of digital life, she suggested, are the experiences children have when they're away from their screens. Getting enough sleep, movement, time outdoors, and connection to friends and family will all enhance mental and physical health and build resilience. 

Watch any or all of the presentation here.