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Digital Family Summit Educates New Generation of Content Creators

Over the weekend, parents, tweens, and teens convened in Baltimore for the second Digital Family Summit, an interactive, hands-on conference geared towards digital media creators ranging in age from 9-13. Teens and tweens learned through workshops designed just for them that focused on vlogging, writing, video game creation using Gamestar Mechanic, setting up a blog on WordPress, and digital photography. Kids also served as panelists, sharing their expertise with their same-age peers about topics like sports blogging and how blogging has opened up new experiences.

“Saturday was an amazing day for my family,” said attendee and speaker, Jill Berry of Musings from Me. “It’s rare that the kids get to go to “my office” since I work from home, but what better way for my kids to learn more about what I do than to attend the Digital Family Summit this weekend!”

Dubbed “South by Southwest for kids” by an adult in attendance, Digital Family allowed parents to learn alongside their kids. They could attend the same workshops, although the priority was given to the tween and teen attendees, or participate in parent-centric panels to discuss topics like digital wellness, pros and cons of internet fame, and balance and safety issues involved in parenting digital kids.

As a parent of a tween, I appreciated the experience of being able to attend with my daughter for a second year in a row. Digital Family allows her to participate in my world in a kid-friendly way that allows her to develop her own voice and think about important issues that are relevant to the online and social media space. Panels and hands-on workshops provided her with knowledge from peers who are already in the online space that she can use as she develops her online presence through her brand new shiny blog.

What else did parent attendees appreciate about this year’s conference as they raise kids in today’s digital age? Click through for photos recapping the weekend at Digital Family Summit.

  • "Our tweens and teens created amazing new content and formed fast friendships" 1 of 11
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    "Our second Digital Family Summit was so well received," said Digital Family Summit organizer, Stephanie Schwab."  "We feel like we hit a home run with the combination of attendees, speakers and sponsors. Our tweens and teens created amazing new content and formed fast friendships and parents had a great time too! We can't wait for next year to come together again as a community."

    —Stephanie Schwab, Digital Family Summit Founder

  • "So many teens were open to having a conversation with adults about our digital lives" 2 of 11
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    "It was awesome to hear so many teens and tweens who were open to having a conversation with adults about our digital lives," said Michele McGraw, Northern Virginia mom of 4 whose blog, Scraps of My Geek Life chronicles how technology enhances her family's life. McGraw attended with two of her children and her husband and spoke on Unplug! Parents Modeling Healthy Digital Behavior.

    Photo courtesy of Digital Family Summit

     

  • "If you have a mic and an amp, you better sing" 3 of 11
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    "The best thing about DigiFam2013 was the quote from Elena Sonnino: "If you have a mic and an amp, you better sing," said panelist Gayatri Bhalla (MsTwixt.com) about Sonnino's closing keynote, titled Social Media for Social Good. "It was a great kick-in-my-behind to ramp up our social advocacy. In fact, after her panel (at the lunch), I registered a domain name for the charitable cause that our family (teens and tweens) has been talking about doing for years (a scholarship fund for girls in rural India (where I'm from) to attend school). Twas an awesome conference!"

  • "The conference turned into an amazing license for dreaming big" 4 of 11
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    ""The connection and community at a conferences in general is a key reason to attend and jump in with both feet. At Digital Family Summit this is magnified and filled with youthful exuberance — the whole of the conference turned into an amazing license for dreaming big! In my session, the energy around "what is possible" as a result of building a strong, personal platform was palpable. Blogging for the Big Picture really resonated - ideas pinged, and peer and parental-based support was in the air! The weekend was also an amazing opportunity to see the accomplishments of peers and set out to on a journey of one's own. And what a perfect chance to both be inspired and be inspired by others!"

    —Julia Beck, 40 Weeks

    Photo courtesy of Digital Family Summit

  • "My kids find it so freaking fun to come to Digital Family with me and learn themselves!" 5 of 11
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    "After years of seeing their mom head to digital media conferences, my kids find it so freaking fun to come to Digital Family with me and learn themselves!," said Jessica McFadden of AParentinAmerica.com & AParentinSilverSpring.com who provided tips on creating videos. "These past two years Charlie and Eve have loved making friends, achieving new skills, receiving swag and review products, chatting about devices and media at kids-only tables at meals, and enjoying post-session evening parties. Their favorite sessions this year were the video game creation workshop and the kids lounge for creative play." 

  • "This conference welcomes and supports digital kids of all ages and levels" 6 of 11
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    "I am in awe of how much my three kids learned at Digital Family Summit this weekend," exclaimed Amy Mascott (TeachMama.com) who led the conference's Blog Writing Workshop with Bruce Fretts and Alize Worthington while also speaking on a parent panel about Kid Fame. "My 6-year-old has been talking about starting her own food and fashion blog after the Food Blogging and Food Photo Staging workshop, sharing pointers about lighting, camera angles, and props with anyone who will listen.  My 8 and 9 year olds spent the entire day yesterday working on creating, tweaking, and testing their own video games.  It was such a great experience for our whole family. I love that this conference welcomes and supports digital kids of all ages and levels; I love that it brings my loved ones more fully into the world of blogging in a fun, hands-on, and totally engaging way."

  • "He walked away with enthusiasm for creating his own [video] game" 7 of 11
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    "Admittedly, my 6 year old was a little young for the attention span required for a conference but the format made him move outside of his comfort zone and engage with other kids just like him. We attended the video game design session together and he walked away with enthusiasm for creating his own game! The content geared towards the kids was excellent and at just the right level. For me, I walked away from the Parenting Social Media Kids: Balance + Safety inspired to get involved at the local level on educating parents on what their kids already know."

    —Fadra Nally, All Things Fadra

  • "I can network and learn with my kids at my side" 8 of 11
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    Lolli Franklin (Better in Bulk) led a two and half hour hands-on workshop on food blogging, styling, and photography with Robin Zachary. What did her kids learn by attending even though they're quite familiar with what mom does?

    "My kids see me at work at my computer every day. They patiently allow me to take pictures of the food before they eat and of the crafts and activities that we do together...and it's not uncommon for them to ask me "Is this for the blog?" My kids are involved in my blog at home, whether I'm writing about one of their accomplishments or featuring a recipe that we've made together, and my 10 year old daughter recently started writing a column on my blog. Even though my blog is mine, they take pride and ownership in what happens there, too. They are developing their own passions as they get older, and many of those passions involve the online/digital space. I love that Digital Family Summit focuses on the whole family. This is OUR community. I can network and learn with my kids at my side...because that's how it happens at home, too. I love that there is so much for both teens/tweens AND their parents to learn. I know we all came away from this conference with new ideas and inspiration, and we can't wait to go back again next year!

  • "What matters is if you are driven." 9 of 11
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    Lara DiPaola from Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom was in awe of wisdom handed down through her Sports Niche panel, especially from 17 year old Clayton Collier of MetsMerized Online.  "His blogging help get him into the college he wanted to go to, got him on the staff of the college radio station and landed him an internship with CBS. So wise and so inspiring."

    What did Collier say that captivated DiPaola? "What matters is if you are driven. If you have that dedication and passion, it will show. You will be amazed at what doors will open from a little bit of hard work and persistence."

    Photo courtesy of Digital Family Summit 

  • "We’re already making plans for attending next year" 10 of 11
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    "This was the perfect conference for my daughter who loved meeting her peers in the digital world and went home with a lot of technical know-how from the hands-on workshops. Because she was a speaker on the kid panel, that was obviously my most favorite and memorable moment at the conference. We're already making plans for attending next year because it's a conference that equally caters to digital parents and kids (no one is left out) well organized, with knowledgeable and friendly staff we can't wait to see again."

    —Megan Broutian, Behaviorial Child and Megan Blogs

    Image courtesy of Amy Mascott, TeachMama.com

  • "Digifam offered kids a wide range of valuable information" 11 of 11
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    "The Digital Family Summit was a terrific event for parents, teens, and tweens," said Frederick Lane, author of CyberTraps for the Young who spoke about Parenting Social Media Kids: Balance and Safety. "Education is the key to helping kids navigate the challenging and sometimes perilous entry into the online world. #Digifam offered kids a wide range of valuable information in a safe and encouraging environment. I'd love to see some of the seminars incorporated into school curricula. Kudos to the organizers, and to the parents who brought their cyber-savvy youngsters to the event."

    Photo courtesy of Digital Family Summit 

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