This award represents a link between screen-time and family time.

Earlier this year, Joanne Akerboom, Principal at St. Anthony's School, was presented an award by Dalhousie University that recognizes her efforts and hard work in her field of study; Information Management.

Akerboom began work on a 120 page paper in January. She received the 2018 SIM Research Award for her paper called 'Parental Awareness and Interest in Their Child’s Use of Social Media: A St. Anthony's Case Study.' Her paper asks the question of who is responsible to teach young children what is okay and not okay to do on a mobile device?

Is the responsibility the parents' or the school's?

Akerboom's paper aims to bring the onus on both. As an educator and a mother/grandmother, Akerboom believes that both parties are responsible for encouraging young people to safely and effectively use screen time devices at home or otherwise.Akerboom1Akerboom was awarded with the prestigious 2018 SIM Research Award

"Our school division decided last year to take on something called 'Hashtag Relationships in a Digital Age'," Akerboom said. "The main idea behind that was to start to help kids develop healthy relationships. One of their most negative impacts is their inability to communicate effectively."

In the paper Akerboom wrote, she provides three recommendations to gets parents and school systems to help mold children into responsible screen-time users.

The first recommendation seeks training within a school setting, making sure their students understand when and how tablets and phones should be used within school periods. Second, parents are actively encouraged to be more a part of their child's habits during screen-time use by asking their child to let them join in on what they are doing while children use their phones and tablets. And the third recommendation suggests that parents who may have knowledge gaps when it comes to screen-time devices and social media, ask for education in the matter as to effectively be able to communicate with their child about what should and should not be explored within this area.

"Our school division is developing the curriculum and we'll be starting that this year in terms of putting that into the schools," she explains. "I always like to say that this is our division's initiative not Alberta Education's. I'm sure that somewhere down the road this will become more a part of it."

"I'm going to be doing a short presentation for our school council next month, October 11," Akerboom informed. "If any of our parents are interested or anyone from the community wants to come, I'm going to be doing a presentation on this."

Akerboom's study has helps Christ the Redeemer School Division to continue developing ways to educate our youth in a world filled with technology. Her aim is to give children and adults the knowledge to look at screen-time devices and other forms of technology as an outlet for good rather than the often discussed outlook that is negative.

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