Welcome to this new website and blog.  I’m Jenna Shapka, a Professor at the University of British Columbia. I’m also a research partner with PREVNet, and I helped create this site. This site is designed to be a resource for parents about kids and technology, with a particular focus on understanding and dealing with cyberbullying.  I also happen to be a parent, with a 10-year old son and a 13-year old daughter, so I am living and breathing all the uncertainty and drama that raising kids in a digital age entails.  All of the content for this site is based on empirical evidence, but many of the examples or suggestions come from my experience as a parent.

This website represents a partnership between PREVNet and Primus.  I led the development of the content, and Primus worked with me to build it.  In developing the site, I really wanted it to be useful for parents, so we did several things:

  1. We conducted a scan of existing cyberbullying/technology websites, and found that there are a lot of outdated websites out there (myspace! ICQs!), as well as sites that approach this topic from a fear-mongering perspective, which just makes it more stressful.
  2. We reviewed of the research literature to make sure that we were completely up to speed on all the latest research about cyberbullying.
  3. We hosted a national survey, which asked parents to identify the most important issues related to kids and technology.

Armed with all of this information and data, I started to develop the content for the site.  Primus contracted Kuration and Lush Concepts to support the marketing and site development, respectively, and as you can see, they were able work with me to organize and translate my academic mumbo jumbo into a beautiful, clear, and easy-to-navigate site.  We did one last thing before deciding we were ready for launch.  In June and July of this year, we held several focus groups with parents to see what they thought of the site.  We got very helpful feedback (most of it positive, phew!), and updated the site accordingly, which hopefully has made it even more informative and useful.  Overall, this has been a really great experience for me, as an academic, to work with an industry partner such as Primus.  PREVNet has posted a feature article that talks about the richness of this experience for all of us.

Watch this space for more from me.  I’m new to blogging, but excited about the possibilities. I also have a team of graduate students who will be posting here as well.  Our hope is that the site will be useful for Canadian parents, but also that it sparks dialogue about what the heck it means for kids (and parents!) to be growing up in this new era, where technology reigns supreme.