Does Digital Life Distort Our Conversation Skills?


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Do our conversation skills weaken as we continually connect — virtually and physically — with our digital devices? How does this always-connected environment affect our children and youth? Are conversational and empathy skills developing as they should?

Sherry Turkle describes these problems in Reclaiming Conversation, a book that relates how the individuals in many of her interviews note — uncomfortably so — that they are less and less able to carry on a conversation confidently. More worrisome, children in general appear to be less able to converse, put themselves in another individual’s shoes, and empathize with that person. Turkle backs up her assertions with evidence.

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Digital Devices & Sleep — Charging Outside of Bedrooms

phone nicheExperts continue to express concern about digital devices and sleep, and children, with their ever-present mobile phones and tablets, do not always get an adequate amount. Ditto for many adults. Check out my sleep resources at the bottom of this post.

One idea that improves a family’s sleep situation markedly, according to parents and pediatricians, is the concept of a centralized charging area — a space away from bedrooms where family members store and charge digital devices for overnight.

A few years ago I wrote Get Better Sleep With a Centralized Charging Station, describing the different ways people create spaces to charge devices away from bedrooms. Some of the suggestions were do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that family members can make together.                                      Continue reading

Let’s Teach Children How to Comment

Knowing how to write a comment that is appropriate for different online settings is a critical literacy skill for 21st Century children (and also for many of their parents). Too often young comment writers end up fervently wishing they had thought a bit more about what they posted.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 8.53.29 PMEducators and parents need to pay serious attention to the commenting lives of kids. While the World Wide Web and social media offer young children, pre-adolescents, and teens nearly unlimited opportunities to comment and express their opinions, problems occur when young people do not possess the impulse control skills for such unrestricted access.                             Continue reading

A Few Back-to-School Posts from the Past

backtoschool postsEach year I write a back-to-school post, that challenges parents and educators to think about the ever-changing lives we live as parents and teachers in our increasingly digital world.This year my  2015 post, A Back-to-School Digital Parenting Checklist, received quite a few hits.

So today I am re-sharing several of my back-to-school pieces from the start of previous academic years. Despite how fast change occurs in our lives, these posts are still timely.                              Continue reading

Digital Parenting Booster Shot? A Healthy Child Metaphor

mini-apps-charts-sm2If you are an educator or parent searching for just the right comments about digital parenting to use at a school, organization, or parent meeting, take a look at the blog post A Booster Shot on Parents’ Night by Ann Klotz over at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Klotz, the head of the Laurel School outside of Cleveland, hits the nail on the head, using a healthy child metaphor to describe the important responsibilities — digital and otherwise — for the parents of digital kids. Adults, she points out, must take on these responsibilities no matter how they feel about technology (or even how much more a parent thinks a child knows about technology). Below is one paragraph from Klotz’s post, but I suggest that you read the entire post.

Ann Klotz wrote:                                    Continue reading

Connected World Coaching for Digital Natives? Read Connecting Wisely

3002_01021048If you teach or think a lot about digital citizenship, take a few minutes to get acquainted with Connecting Wisely in the Digital Age. This new book is simple yet powerful, with content and context for adults who seek to support and mentor 21st Century digital kids. The goal is to help children develop a deeper understanding about the responsibilities that accompany their connected lives.

Authors Devorah Heitner, PhD, and Karen Jacobson, MAbase their book on a singular premise — that the 21 activities introduced in their book, when facilitated by imaginative adults, will make a positive difference in kids’ daily online lives. With its flexibility and its focus on adults as connected world coaches and mentors (not lecturers), Connecting Wisely stands head and shoulders above many other curricula in this category.                 Continue reading