Digital Parenting Back-to-School Checklist

You are welcome to copy and share this post, with parents at your school or organization. Please attribute to Marti Weston, MediaTechParenting.net. If you are using online, please link to the blog. Thanks for the inquiries!

back to school digital parents checklist

Click to download a PDF of the Digital Parenting Checklist.

***************

It’s back-to-school 2015, a time to list the many tasks we need to accomplish before the start of the new academic year. We think about school supplies, new clothes and shoes, new lunch boxes, and, of course, new digital devices and computers. We check off our lists as we go, getting our 21st Century children ready to return to school.

Yet back-to-school season is also a useful time for parents to list, consider, and articulate connected-life expectations, old and new, for the coming year. What do you want your children to do or not do? How do you expect them to behave when a friend encourages behavior that is not allowed at home?

To help you consider the issues of your child’s digital life, and your own, use the the eight items checklist below to get started.                               Continue reading

Now In Top 10 Child Health Concerns: Internet Safety & Sexting

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health conducts regular surveys several times each year polling adults in around 2000 randomly selected, nationally representative households, about significant health issues that relate to children. The goal of this survey and others in the C.S. Mott program is to collect information and identify trends that are useful to health providers, community public health organizations, and public policy makers.

CS Mott health probllem results

Image from CS. Mott Children’s Hospital Survey report site.

One of these surveys on children’s health asks adults to rate the issues or problems that are of greatest concern when it comes to kids’ health.

This year, 2015, parents rated internet safety as the fourth most important health problem for children, moving from the eighth place in 2014. Sexting, which was in 13th place in 2014, was rated as the sixth greatest health concern for children in the 2015 survey.

These findings indicate that 21st Century parents are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of their kids in today’s media-dense environment. Increasingly todays adults seek to focus on the digital health and wellness of their children and seek to learn how to parent digital natives more effectively and more positively.     Continue reading

Pinterest: A Digital Passport to the World of Images

If you are the parent of a 21st Century digital kid, and you want to try something new in the turbulent, always-changing social media world, you might explore Pinterest —  a social media site that helps people accomplish an old activity in a new and better way.

Pinterest

Visit Pinterest!

In the “olden days” people spent time looking through magazines and catalogs, identifying images such as the best looking clothes, interesting plants, comfortable shoes, or pictures with ideas for an upcoming home construction project. An individual cut out the image and put it into a folder (or a pile). I used to have folders filled with images on all sorts of topics, waiting for me to consult, and I used them from time-to-time. Now Pinterest makes this process digital.

Pinterest, a social media sharing site, allows users to collect and store digitized images from all over the web, along with the image links, and it offers a way organize the pictures into digital folders — Pinterest calls them boards. When a person searches for and finds a useful image, it’s pinned along with its web link into a board’s collection. An individual can also discover, collect, and pin web images from outside of Pinterest.            Continue reading

Making Digital Parenting Easier, Not Scarier

Made with Festisite.

Made with Festisite.

It’s nearly impossible to compare the parental responsibilities before and after the onset of the digital age.

Parents today encounter one challenge after another, and each family member lives a slightly different connected life. Deciding on devices and time to spend on them is only one parenting issue. Other issues include the monitoring of child’s privacy, the access to so much uncensored information, the ease of making mistakes, and parental worries about what happens with devices when a child visits another household with different connected-world rules. And then there’s the big problem for adults — how they model (or don’t model) appropriate use for younger family members..

Many parents approach digital family life with focus and ongoing attention. That’s why Jane Brody’s two New York Times articles, Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll and How to Cut a Child’s Screen Time made me a bit nervous, Brody aptly describes screen addiction, a situation that is not uncommon, and she points out that parents, too, need to learn how to disconnect and pay more attention to their children. Brody offers several top-notch resources for parents, and quotes Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose excellent book, The Big Disconnect, is an eye-opening presentation about the family and especially real-life parental problems in the connected world.                    Continue reading

Teach Kids to Protect Themselves from Hateful Information Online

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.07.42 PMAs I’ve thought almost continuously about the nine individuals murdered at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, I’ve also spent time considering how a young person grows into a hateful individual. All children begin life as accepting young beings, but at any age, once exposed to hateful attitudes or violent behavior, attitudes can change dramatically.

I’ve read every article I can find that offers guidance to adults about interpreting horrific events and addressing topics that feel uncomfortable, most recently We Need to Deal With Our Discomfort and Talk to Our Kids About Racism by writer Meghan Leahy in the Washington Post. Interestingly, few of the materials that I’ve read address the issue of online hate, the ease with which users, including kids, can access it, and the need for adults — parents and educators — to ensure that 21s Century children possess the evaluative skills to recognize and thus inoculate themselves from hate material when it pops up on their screens. For parents conversations about race, privilege, extremism, and hate can create a considerable amount of discomfort.

Fifteen years ago only people taught children to hate. Today the transmission of hate doesn’t require human contact or conversation at all — just a computer, some misguided online searches, and a lack of adult supervision. If we want to raise children who recognize racism, understand privilege, and yes, speak out, we must be sure to pay attention to what they do online.            Continue reading

ISTE 2015 Independent School Outstanding Educator Award Video

ISTE3I am honored and, yes, thrilled, that my colleagues in the independent school educational technology community selected me to receive the 2015 International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) Independent School Outstanding Educator Award. It recognizes my work connecting colleagues as the founder and moderator of the Independent School Educators’ Listserv (ISED), my experience mentoring classroom teachers at Georgetown Day School and technology colleagues around the country, the work I do supporting the parents of digital kids, and, of course, my blogging.

In the video below, Larry Kahn, the Director of Technology at Iolani School, presents the award.