Paris is without a doubt one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, and every year families relocate and settle down in the City of Light. Those families may adore visiting the Louvre, Parc de la Villette and other child-friendly destinations, but inevitably one day, those families will be confronted with the need to access digital destinations.
I know, as incredible as it may seem, even children in museum-rich Paris want to play with tablets, smartphones, and computers. Bienvenue to the Digital Age!
But not to worry, Paris has many organizations and associations to help digital parents who have yet to master French or cyberspace. To get you started in the right direction, here are some useful pointers to start you and your kids on a rewarding digital experience in Paris.
Quick tips for Parisian digital parents
- Yes, your children will pick up the language of Molière faster than you can translate ‘lickety-split’ to French. And that will now include French Internet slang. Before arriving in France, your teen may have written a text message ending with LMAO but now you will see MDR (mort de rire). And it doesn’t stop there, so keep a running dialogue with your children.
- Age of consent in France is 15. That is not a typo. 15. See Article 227-25 of the French Penal Code for more jaw-dropping legal facts. So if you see your 16-year-old darling daughter texting or instant messaging that 25-year-old guy down the street, get the “safe tech – safe sex” conversation started because this is a new town with new rules.
- In France, Internet Service Providers provide free parental controls and even explain how you can install parental controls on tablets and smartphones. Read up on your provider website or stop by your local boutique.
- Talk to your school’s parents association about holding a digital parenting evening, or just set up a coffee session to talk with other parents. You will be reassured to know that you are not alone.
- Set up a digital parenting training session or workshop with e-enfance for your school or parent association.
Coding class and cool tech stuff in Paris
If you would like to show the positive sides of technology and use some of their weekly allotted screen time for educational and creative activities, check out the list below for all sorts of cool tech stuff in Paris.
- Digital Workshops: The Kids Planner listing notes tons of courses and workshops available across Paris and for kids of all ages.
- Magic Makers: coding classes and creativity courses in film, Lego automation and more, with several locations around Paris.
- Tech Kids Academy: The first digital academy for kids 7-17, offers coding, electronics, robotics, 3D design & printing, photo, video, animation etc. You can also do a birthday party on site for your little tech lovers.
- La Souris Gris: holds coding and creative courses for kids every Wednesday.
- Super Coders: coding workshops for kids animated by Orange employees.
Where to go for help
Parents in Paris, like parents in most digital societies, need to know where to go for assistance with their tech and digital-world issues and the list below notes resources in English and in French.
- e-enfance: advice on online safety for parents
- Internet sans crainte: videos, games and workshops on online issues
- Point du contact.net: reporting tool for pornographic, violent, hateful content and other offensive materials
- net-ecoute.fr: free helpline for young people and parents to discuss any issues in confidentiality
- Digital Parenting Coach: ebooks, guides and workshops from yours truly
- ParentZone: online safety downloads from a UK organization (UK)
- Internet Matters: articles and tips (UK)
- Common Sense Media: articles tips, movies and game ratings (US).
The best thing that any digital parent can do is to get a conversation started with their children, tweens and teens. One of the most effective online safety tools is an involved parent. Period. So don’t be afraid of the answers you may hear, keep an open mind and get that conversation started. Then rinse and repeat.
- Who are you hanging out with online?
- Where are you going online? (what types of sites)
- What are you doing online? (gaming, Skyping, chatting, creating videos, etc.)
- When are you going online? (late at night, early in the morning, at grandma’s, with the sitter)
- What is your favorite website?
- Who is your favorite YouTuber?
Whether you’re a digital parent in Paris or in some other fab city, new issues in the digital environment crop up all the time. Can you believe that terms like “digital pickpockets” (people with credit card readers attempting to scan your wallet) to “digital spy dolls” (talking dolls that may be spying on you) are becoming common phrases today?
It really is a whole new world.
But one of the best ways to stay up-to-date is to join The Digital Parenting Community where the latest trends are identified. Parents and caregivers are also free to share and exchange around their own issues and challenges.