Collecting Information — Even From Selfies?

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 9.16.16 PMThere seems to be a way to collect information about — well — everything.

Now that includes our images, and more specifically the selfies that we informally snap and share. Parents of 21st Century digital kids need to know that data mining reaches ever farther into our lives, seeking information from our most spontaneous and casual digital image creating activities.

An October 10, 2014 article in AdWeek, How Marketers Are Mining Your Selfies for Data: Chances are, Without You Knowing, describes how data mining firms collect information on the millions of pictures that are casually uploaded and without privacy settings.                Continue reading

5 Screen Name Tips for Digital Parents

Choosing Screen NamesThe best screen names are boring.

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

Hour of Code Reflections: What a Difference a Few Words Make!

Image used with permission.

Image used with permission.

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

Needed: Ongoing Social Media Conversations About Image Sharing

using smartponesIf your children are using or begging to use  InstagramSnapchat, Vineor the many other apps on their digital devices that share media, it’s time to get serious about conversations on social media and image sharing. Moreover, many other digital device apps exist or suddenly appear that also encourage sharing. (Check out my post that demonstrates just how apps multiply and catch on with kids.)

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!

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Sexting Information for Concerned Parents from FOSI

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 8.27.02 PM

Click here to get the FOSI brief.

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.

Best Quote                         Continue reading