Back-to-School Digital Parenting Tips – 2013

The back-to-school season is a great time for adults to think about what they can do to help children avoid some of the typical online and social media mistakes and difficulties.

backtoschool cyber rules

These adult strategies can help elementary and middle school children develop safe, secure, and disciplined digital life skills.

Teachers can also share this list with the parents of their students.

Are Teens Moving Away from Facebook?

Take a few minutes to read Some Teens Aren’t Liking Facebook as Much as Older Users, a May 30, 2012 business article in the Los Angeles Times. Facebook’s growth is slowing, and many teens, after  absorbing lessons about privacy and the need to share less personal information, now seek to socialize online in smaller community groups with people they know.

Reporters Jessica Guynn and Ryan Faughnder point out that students are also far more eager to use mobile services designed for their smartphones. Interestingly, parents are still avid Facebook users.

Best Quotes from the Article

  • Teens… can also be more selective about what they share and with whom, and feel less social pressure to “friend”everyone in their school or friends or friends.
  • Teens who belong to the first truly mobile generation — their most common form of communication is text messaging — are increasingly gravitating to services made for their smartphones and tablets.

Pew Report on Teen Behavior and Social Media Sites

Pew infographic. Click and view larger version of this image.

Take a few minutes to read at least the main points of the November 2011 report on teens and social networking, published in November 2011 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The executive summary is a fairly quick read.

During the spring and summer of 2011 researchers made calls to 799 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and they also spoke with a parent or guardian of each adolescent. Interestingly, a large number of the teens surveyed reported that their parents and teachers provided them with the best and most helpful advice on digital citizenship issues and other virtual concerns. The media were the third most significant influence.

Browse all of the infographics from this Pew Internet report.

A Few Other Interesting Points

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NetSmartz: Digital Suggestions for Summer Family Fun

This set of summer digital activities, 5 Things You Can Do Online With Your Child This Summer, arrived  in my e-mail a week or so ago. The list includes simple, but open-ended activities, each one enjoyable by itself, but with the potential to lead parents and children in many additional and enjoyable digital directions during the summer vacation. The ideas come from NetSmartz.

NetSmartz is an interactive and educational program for parents and kids, connected with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). NetSmartz uses its considerable resources and clout to educate, engage, and empower children and their families about digital care and safety.

Visit the NetSmartz parents’ site. — Visit the site for Kids. — Visit the site for teens.

NetSmartz also features a wide range of digital safety educational resources for educators and law enforcement professionals.

No blog, though, at least not one that I can find. Puzzling since they provide some excellent information on blogging. Why not an example of what good blogging looks like — maybe one for parents and one for adolescents?

Summer Vacation and Family Digital Conversations

I recommend this documentary for a summer family movie night.

Are you thinking about digital citizenship and safety conversations? Do you want to learn more about Wikipedia?  Summer is a great time for these talks. Here’s why.

School’s out and many children fill at least part of their summer days with World Wide Web activities on fast internet connections. Camps and daycamps feature computer labs and lots of specialized digital programs. On the go we increasingly carry more gadgets — mobile phones, smartphones, iTouches, Blackberries, and iPads. In fact, even on vacations and at hotels, cottages, and many of those rustic country cabins we all hope to escape to, we stay connected. After years of teaching I’ve found that my students’ digital skills usually expand during the three-month summer hiatus from school.

Adults can learn more, too. Ask your children to help you expand your own skills. Maybe you want to download videos or save podcasts to your smartphone. Perhaps you can start a family blog, really learn how to use your digital camera, or ask your child can show you how to make special ringtones from your favorite music. If you don’t know how to text, summer is a great time to learn. Read 7 Constructive Digital Suggestions from Kids to Parents.

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