Posted by Marti Weston on July 30, 2010
The United States Library of Congress started with Thomas Jefferson’s personal library – 6,487 books. Now it’s an enormous collection of information on almost any topic a person wants to study. The library’s history page notes that “… it has become the largest repository of recorded knowledge in the world and a symbol of the vital connection between knowledge and democracy.”
The resourceful staff at the Library have a finger on the cultural pulse of the country, so not only do the collections include books, papers, music, film, historical documents, and images, but now the library is digitizing its collection. As of February 2009 there were 15.3 million digitized items and anyone can access and download this information to a computer. According to the Library of Congress blog (subscribers welcomed), if all of those digitized items could be saved to CD-ROM disks, the pile would be a mile high, and that was more than a year ago.
The Library of Congress website is just the right place to get started with research for a class project or homework assignment. Start by going the section for kids and families, with features that are mostly, but not exclusively, useful to elementary and middle school students. Some of the searchable features in this section include: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in great sites for students, homework time, parents and technology | Tagged: American Memory Project, digital parenting, government sites for kids, homework, Library of Congress, reliable information, web resources | 1 Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on July 26, 2010
As summer 2010 moves swiftly along, we begin thinking, albeit incrementally, about back-to-school preparations.
In addition to traditional preparations — school supplies, lunch boxes, schedules, new shoes and clothes – we often use this time of year to update our digital lives, purchasing new computers, updating Internet access in our homes, and deciding whether or not to purchase cell phones other gadgets (MP3 players, iTouch, iPad) for our children.
Parents and teachers who have been through many back-to-school cycles know that some year when school begins, we unexpectedly become acquainted with new types of digital activities, discovering things that our children have known about all summer long. A few years ago Facebook arrived on the scene in just this way. While the school year does not always begin with digital surprises, experience tells us that, more often than not, a new digital activity or concern arrives on our radar screen — that’s the adult radar — at the beginning of the school year.
So to level the playing field between now and early September, I will post regular links to back-to-school parent “reading assignments.”
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Posted in digital citizenship, digital parenting, parents and technology, resources to read | Tagged: back-to-school, digital citizenship, digital parenting | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on July 24, 2010
Digital media manipulators use and modify information in any way necessary to support their views. The truth, context, intention, and even a person’s reputation are irrelevant, as Mrs. Shirley Sherrod discovered this week. What do children learn during these media spectacles?
While it’s tempting to focus on the unprincipled young-adult blogger who posted the edited, out-of-context video, the more compelling issue is how it’s increasingly acceptable to use digital media to embarrass and publicly humiliate others. Although the victim can be in the national news, more often it’s a child on the other side of a classroom. Thus the task of initiating conversations to help children understand ethical digital behavior takes on greater urgency.
These questions aim to help a parent get started. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in acceptable use, digital citizenship, media literacy, parent education, parents and technology | Tagged: acceptable use, digital citizenship, digital parenting, ethical behavior, media manipulation | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on July 21, 2010
Today with everyone connected all of the time, families need to think about scheduling disconnect time at home. Recently I read that, before cabinet meetings at the White House, the president requires attendees to leave phones and Blackberries in a basket by the door. Without interruptions from communication devices, people can concentrate on the conversation and on the important issues. Most importantly, cabinet members are able to listen to each other without distractions.
Can your dining room be gadget-free during meals?
Families, too, need uninterrupted communication time. Parents may want to develop home guidelines that mirror cabinet meeting expectations. The Pew Internet and American Life Project offers wide-ranging information setting sensible mobile phone and texting limits.
Family meals are the perfect time to disconnect phones and Blackberries. Increasingly, pediatricians and other family researchers believe that regular, all-family mealtimes provide children with a range of advantages. To improve communication and interaction, each person can turn off the ringer and deposit his or her phone in a location away from the table, preferably in another room. Dinner table conversation can proceed uninterrupted so family members will listen more carefully to one another. Make the dining room a gadget-free zone during meal times.
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Posted in acceptable use, cell phones, digital citizenship, digital parenting, parents and technology, setting technology limits | Tagged: cell phones, digital parenting, multi-tasking, setting limits, technology at home, texting | 1 Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on July 16, 2010
When children ask questions about the United States Government, two sites provide online access to kid-friendly explanations, data, and legal responsibilities at a range of government agencies. Each site has advantages and disadvantages, but the two sites combined offer young students access to all sorts information, written expressly for kids. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in great sites for students, parents and technology | Tagged: government sites for kids, homework, site review, web resources | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Marti Weston on July 15, 2010
iTunes, the amazing music downloading site used by millions of children, teens, and their families, is not immune from privacy violations and fraud problems according to a July 7, 2010 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article. In Apple Battles Frauds in iTunes, reporters Ben Worthen And Yukari Iwatani Kane describe how iTunes accounts have been accessed by hackers and used to purchase music and applications. Apple has taken steps to solve the problem.
I use iTunes on a regular basis. iTunes keeps user credit cards on file, so users simply click a few times to buy music. Many children and teens regularly make purchases with their parents’ credit cards. For more information read the article. Sometimes online WSJ articles are available freely available for a limited time period.
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Posted in digital parenting, online security, parents and technology | Tagged: iTunes, online fraud, online music, online security, parents and technology, privacy | Leave a Comment »