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

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 it online, please link to the blog. Thanks for the inquiries and the great feedback!

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.


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