Posted by Marti Weston on December 9, 2013
Whenever I have conversations about the challenges of digital parenting, people invariably ask how I might condense all of the 21st Century parenting guidance into just a few helpful suggestions.
Can you get it down to three most important tips, I’m asked?
I’ll admit that I’ve tried, on one than one occasion, to identify and condense the many elements that combine to strengthen digital world parenting skills, but the challenge takes an enormous amount of thought and even more time. Moreover, any short and succinct advice has to make it clear that we parents can no longer think about living our lives in two parts — digital and non-digital. If tips are distilled down to the basics, they still need to help adults recognize that our world changes constantly, and also that it requires us to continually learn from our children — refining our parenting strategies as we go along.
The good news is that one of my colleagues, Craig Luntz at the Calvert School in Baltimore, has come up with a three-part framework to help families navigate through changing expectations in the 21st Century world. When he works with parents at his school Craig offers the following three-part digital parenting plan. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century parenting, digital change, parents and technology | Tagged: 21st Century Parenting, Calvert School, Craig Luntz, digital kids, digital life, digital parenting, parenting digital kids | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on November 27, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
It’s Thanksgiving 2013, a time when we give thanks for family, friends, and the richness of our lives. It’s also a time to take stock, gain perhaps a bit more insight about the quality of life, and maybe even refrain from always wishing for more.
As a teacher, 21st Century learning advocate, and educational technology enthusiast, I spend much of the year on this blog suggesting ways that families, educators, children, and certainly, my students, can strategize, enrich, and improve their digitally connected lives and, of course, learn enough to avoid potential problems.
But today is different!
We spend so much time grumbling about all the problems that arise in our digital era. So to add some extra fun to our family’s Thanksgiving 2013 celebration, here are a few special experiences and joys that the digital world has brought into my family’s life — for which I am most grateful.
I am thankful that digital life allows me to: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, connected learning, digital life, parents and technology | Tagged: connected world, digital world, gratitude, how technology has improved my life, thankfulness, Thanksgiving 2013 | 1 Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on November 13, 2013
On a fairly regular basis I hear presenters and parents cite research results about technology and 21st Century kids. Often they justify their points by making comments such as “According to research,” or Research demonstrates that…”
Some time ago, for instance, I heard a presenter comment that too much use of digital devices causes students’ lack of concentration, and she cited a university research study. Trouble is, when I subsequently checked out the research, it was based on 25 participants — a small number on which to form a conclusion and make assumptions about a dramatic outcome. After I read the abstract, I discovered that the researchers who conducted the study concluded that the outcome is an association with kids’ lack of concentration and not a cause. The data did not indicate that too much technology causes a lack of concentration.
The difference between association and causation is significant, and parents as well as those of us in the educational technology community need to recognize the difference. Much of our accumulated data about technology outcomes are collected over a short-term, and in many areas we have no data collected long-term. Television statistics are the exception, because after years and years of well-designed, science-based studies, the causal connection between television viewing and childhood behaviors is only now being firmly established. That’s because enough data exist to enable researchers to draw firmer conclusions about how TV screen time affects certain childhood problems.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century Learning, data collecting, digital devices, digital learning, research on the web | Tagged: association, causation, data collection, digital life, digital media, digital world research, research | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on November 8, 2013
While I could not spend the entire day at the FOSI2013 conference, I joined the event around 1:00 P.M. after a morning at school and just in time for a terrific panel, Child Psychology and the Effects of Technology. Later I attended a session, Creating Trust on Social Networks, with panel members from the social media industry who described in some detail how vendors and social media sites strive to commit themselves to user support, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and integrity — in theory, above profit concerns.
As usual, each of the break-out periods featured two sessions — topics that I really wanted to attend but scheduled at the same time — so I had the difficult task of making choices. Because FOSI2013 provided a detailed schedule before the conference began, I arrived with a pretty good idea about which session related more to the issues that I am currently thinking about and coping with at my school. Still, making this type of choice at a conference is always challenging. I’ve tentatively arranged to get together, face-to-face, with local colleagues who also attended the conference and swap notes about the sessions that we missed.
I might mention here that during a break my edtech colleague, David, and I struck up a conversation with Patricia, a conference attendee and government official from Kenya. She had arrived just before the conference and was leaving almost immediately afterward. He asked her if she would be attending the FOSI2014 conference next year and invited her to plan a few extra days and visit his school. I chimed in and offered an invite to mine. Then we told Patricia that our independent school technology community is close-knit, and would welcome her at their schools, too.
To round out the afternoon, conference attendees all came back together to hear a group of experts discuss and distill some of the issues — privacy, digital citizenship, parenting, social media, connected life — that FOSI featured during the two-day conference. This was one of the most engaging conference activities, I think, because of the way the panelists — a journalist, an academician, a therapist, and a legal scholar — ranged back and forth over the topics connecting events and adding their own information.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital parenting, digital world conversations, parents and technology, workshops and conferences | Tagged: Adam Thierer, Catherine Steiner-Adair, Clive Thompson, digital citizenship, digital learning, digital life, family conversations, FOSI2013, Urs Gassers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on November 7, 2013
Some of these ideas come from researchers describing the results of various studies. Others come from presenters’ comments. My apologies for not connecting individuals with their comments.
I am drawing from my 30 pages of actual handwritten notes (handwritten because the seats were not a comfortable height for me to use my iPad).
In the Digital World
- Six billion people have access to a cell phone in today’s world — more than have access to clean toilets.
- The enemy of empowerment is fear and lack of expertise.
- Be the change that you want to see in the world. (a Gandhi quote)
- Children are using the Internet at younger and younger ages.
- Surveillance does not create safety — only the illusion of safety.
- Think less about digital citizenship. The Internet is a huge part of life and we are citizens on and offline.
- Digital world communication often eliminates a person’s visual and aural signals setting the scene for misunderstanding.
Teens Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, kids and privacy, parents and technology | Tagged: digital citizenship, digital parenting, digital world learning, education, FOSI2013, soundbites, teaching | 2 Comments »
Posted by Marti Weston on November 6, 2013
I am away from school today, attending the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I plan to post several times over the course of the two days, and because I am putting connected-world sharing above almost-perfect prose, I’ll make basic edits as I write but spend more time tonight and tomorrow fine-tuning my posts.
Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!
The conference, held in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Conference, features all sorts of digital life movers and shakers who offer information and guidance to parents, children, and educators.
One always has interesting first impressions at the beginning of any conference. Is it easy to get settled? Yes. Is the wifi ready and easy for us to use? Yes, and I am using it now. Are the people friendly and helpful? A definite yes. And finally, does the conference facility have a coat check? Yes! There’s nothing worse than toting around a coat all day during a conference. It remains to be seen if it will be easy to recharge my laptop when necessary, but I expect that will not be difficult either.
So now I get to excitedly anticipate the FOSI program. I await the panel on new research. I’m eager to hear from danah boyd (lower case intentional), especially about her upcoming book, It’s Complicated. (Editor’s Note: Even when I knew just a few of the many wonderful things about danah I was already a fan just because she attended the same university as my daughter.) Another author I’ll be interested to hear is Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose book, The Big Disconnect, is my current read and featured on the front of this blog.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, family conversations, parents and technology | Tagged: Anne Collier, Catherine Steiner-Adair, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital life, digital parenting, Family Online Safety Institute, FOSI | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on October 28, 2013
Check out the other survey findings.
Common Sense Media has published a 2013 report on young children and their access and use of mobile media devices, Zero to Eight, Children’s Media Use in America 2013. The new research study aims to get a reading on how media use has changed since the the organization completed and published its 2011 media and children study. Common Sense Media plans to redo this research biennially and publish the collected data.
The 2013 results are based on a nationally representative survey of parents with children under eight years of age. Researchers surveyed 1,463 parents utilizing the same methodology that was used in the 2011 survey and making sure that African-American and Latino representation was large enough to ensure statistically valid conclusions. To further ensure reliability of the data, investigators provided devices and Internet access to survey participants when necessary.
Several of the Most Interesting 2013 Findings
- The survey data indicate that almost twice as many children, eight years and younger now use mobile media when compared to the 2011 Common Sense Media results.
- Television, DVD, and video game use on traditional screens is decreasing, but television still dominates.
- Although access to mobile media for poor and underserved children has increased since the 2011 survey, a digital divide still exists.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 21st Century parenting, digital devices, gadget ownership, mobile media devices, parents and technology, too much media? | Tagged: Common Sense Media, digital kids, digital parenting, media use, mobile devices, mobile media | Leave a Comment »