In a connected world, where even a nuanced word association can invite unfortunate behavior, 21st Century parents need to keep an eye on the online names that children use. The easiest solution is to use a word, nickname, or a middle name, perhaps paired with numbers at the beginning or end. Many years ago I used 29Marti1607, a name that attracted little attention except once when someone asked me if my ancestors had lived in colonial Jamestown (settled in 1607).
Children experiment with edgy screen names as one way to look and feel cool, and as they get older their choices often push limits, unintentionally drawing attention. A suggestive name in any number of categories can encourage the people who interact with your child to behave impulsively — even friends. Parents need to worry less about strangers seeing and using a screen name and more about a 21st Century kid using a screen name that contributes in some way to humiliating or embarrassing behavior. Continue reading →
What if we encouraged young learners, when they encounter a difficult learning task, to replace the words “I don’t get it” with “I haven’t figured out the problem yet”? Can changing just a few small words make learners more comfortable when they work on unfamiliar or difficult activities?
I’ve spent the last month mulling over this word change idea after participating in Hour of Code activities with young 21st Century learners at my school in December. Watching the children in kindergarten and grades three, four and five solve puzzles and play the unfamiliar coding games was eye-opening, because in each class the majority of students — and some of the teachers — were working on learning tasks that they had never encountered before (definitely terra incognita). Continue reading →
Sharing apps make users, especially young people, feel like they can have and keep secrets with their friends. Children, and adults, too, like the apps because they claim to offer a modicum privacy and because any media that they share will self-destruct within a few seconds. Voilà – it’s disappeared!
If you worry about sexting, your child, and even the friends of your children, take a few minutes to read a Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) digital parenting brief, Sexting: Felony or Flirting?This article fills in a lot of blanks for concerned parents who observe adolescents treating the sexting issues with almost casual regard.
The piece, by FOSI International Policy Manager, Emma Morris, offers broad information and excellent advice for the parents of digital kids, including overviews of recent news stories, research, and court cases.
Digital footprints — those small bits of digital information collected and compiled on each individual — can portray a person in all sorts of ways. Everything we do on the web or with when we interact with other connected sites is saved somewhere. We may think first of email, texts, social media, and web searches, but our information gets collected when we shop, travel, drive, make mobile phone calls, and even when we buy groceries.
Below are a few links that can help parents and educators think about managing and curating digital footprints. Everyone, child and adult, has a digital footprint profile.