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Posts Tagged ‘websites’

It’s Something New and We Don’t Understand: On Fear, Part #2

Posted by Marti Weston on March 3, 2014

Susannah Fox, over at Pew Internet Research Project, recently Tweeted a statistic from her organization’s Social Networking Fact Sheet — 73% of online adults now use social networking sites and 71% are on Facebook. I read her Tweet just after sharing another statistic on a recent post, Amaze Your Kids with Internet Statistics, writing that the average age of Facebook users is 41.5 years old.

who uses social networking sites

Adults Online Who Use Social Networking

My first thought was, “What happened to all of the adult Facebook fear and anxiety?” Even five years ago most adults seemed to avoid the social networking platform with its attendant loss of personal privacy.

The answer? As trendy new practices, apps, and sites become a part of life, we adults often worry especially about our kids, their behavior and safety, and what they are learning. But eventually these new things — in this case Facebook — aren’t so new anymore. We figure out how to keep track of our kids and even begin to use some of the new ideas in our own adult lives. Initially some of us use social media just to keep track of the kids or merely to connect with family members, but the fact is, we are less fearful — for ourselves or for our children. Read my story about joining Facebook.

The same thing happened with Wikipedia. First we couldn’t believe it was around, then we feared mis-information — that using it would cause our children to learn bad habits and forget to use the expert references. Finally we realized that we teach kids to use lots or resources and confirm facts. Gradually our attitude about Wikipedia is changing. Go ahead and read it, we eventually told kids, but cite it and confirm the facts with reliable reference sources.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, education not fear, Facebook, parents and technology, social media, supervising digital kids, values in digital life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Encouraging Digital Kids to Write Polished Comments

Posted by Marti Weston on February 10, 2013

Comment

Part of becoming a strong 21st Century digital learner is mastering the art of writing and sharing comments online.

If you read comments at the end of articles or blog postings, you have surely discovered more than a few inappropriate and sometimes distasteful remarks. Sometimes people leave these comments anonymously. Posted by folks who do not understand why websites invite visitors to share thoughts and ideas, many unfiltered remarks are permanently attached to websites — personal indiscretions waiting for the whole world to discover. Even leaving an anonymous comment is not particularly secure.

Read a short post and watch a video on newspaper comments, uploaded by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. Some newspapers sites, such as the Boston Globe, post a short and succinct comment policy with a link to a more detailed document.

Helping children avoid public website blunders is one reason to discuss commenting etiquette. Children don’t know or they forget that all comments leave digital footprint trails, little paths of information that last much longer than a child’s pre-adolescent and even teenage years.

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Posted in conversations on commenting, digital footprints, digital learning, digital parenting, digital world conversations, family conversations, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10 Ways to Help Students Evaluate Digital Information

Posted by Marti Weston on December 30, 2012

goodwebsitebadwebsiteAlthough I am a big fan of encouraging students to begin any research project with curated resources such as the online databases at a school or public library, I know that many learners head straight for Google.

When students make garden-variety searches on Google, teach them to investigate and ask questions about what they find, especially if they are planning to use a website to learn more about a topic. The strongest 21st Century learners will make the process of asking evaluative questions second nature — examining each and every site before deciding whether or not to use the information.

Questions to Ask About Any Digital Resource          Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital learning, digital parenting, evaluating web site resources, online research, parents and technology, research on the web | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Removing Racist and Hateful Comments: A Simple Relevancy Test

Posted by Marti Weston on March 16, 2012

Click to hear Tyler's dad reading a statement after the jury returned its verdict.

After the jury announced its verdict in New Jersey I watched Associated Press video statement read by Tyler Clementi’s father. Sad and clearly with a heavy heart, he nevertheless looked to the future in a way that most of us could not have done had we lost a child the way he lost Tyler. Then I glanced down at the YouTube comments — just about every one included a gay slur or offensive language, and I was disgusted. The comments were not relevant.

Racist and hateful online comments demean writers, video-makers, and people who thoughtfully share digital content. It’s becoming tiresome. Masquerading as run-of-the-mill responses at the end of articles and videos – they are actually cyber-bullies’ remarks left here and there with the goal of offending and hurting others. The time has long past for comment and blog editors everywhere  – but especially at Google’s YouTube — to set up and enforce guidelines.

I know that the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech; however, it’s not freedom of speech we are observing but freedom to run off at the mouth and bully others in ways that are not relevant to the content. As a result we are teaching all sorts of silent lessons — the kind we don’t really intend to teach to young people as they grow up.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, commenting, conversations on commenting, cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

10 Tips to Ensure that You Use Accurate Digital Information

Posted by Marti Weston on December 2, 2011

Even in today’s fast-paced virtual world, these tips never seem to age. Help kids learn to make good choices.

1.  Who made the site? Is it from a university or other institution? Is it for-profit or non-profit. Corporate?  Look for an “about” link that describes the site.

2.  When was the site made and how often is the site updated? Somewhere, usually at top or bottom it should tell. Is this site updated recently?  If not this may be a reason to check out another website on your topic.

3.  Is it possible to contact the webmaster or the sponsor of the site? Is there a “contact us” link somewhere on the page?

4.  How much advertising is on the page, and how aggressive is it? Good sites that use advertising are careful to keep it from being “in your face.”

5.  Does the site state its mission? Why was it set up?

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Posted in attributing sources, digital learning, digital parenting, evaluating web site resources, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10 Links to Help Your Family Identify Better Web Resources

Posted by Marti Weston on October 5, 2011

Do you know how to help your children evaluate sites and make good quality choices?

Below are four links to university library websites where parents learn more about how to judge the quality of a website. Following the separate resources is a small collection of  links that can help middle and elementary school students learn how to evaluate the quality of a website.

Web Evaluation Resources for Parents

Web Evaluation Resources for Students

To learn more you can read another MediaTechParenting post, Back-to-School Digital Research Tips.

Posted in attributing sources, digital parenting, Evaluating Web Resources, online research, parents and technology, web research | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Terms of Use, Readability, and Digital Kids

Posted by Marti Weston on September 25, 2011

Check the terms of use readability level at your favorite sites.

Just about every time I head over to iTunes to purchase something, I’m all set to finish up when the site diverts me to a change in the terms of use. It happens at lots of sites.  And each time I click to look at a site’s terms of use, it’s a longer document — 40 pages, 41, 42… Now I don’t object to changes or even insisting that users check things out, but terms of use are abstract and arcane and not especially easy to read or even understand.

I’ve always thought it would be an interesting conversation topic for parents and kids — taking a few minutes to look at those terms of use statements that most people accept and go right by, and helping children discover a bit about the fine print.

About eight months ago, I read a posting about terms of use documents, C’mon! Match Terms of Use Text to Users’ Comprehension Level, written by Linda Criddle over at the I look Both Ways blog.

Criddle described her experience examining terms of use documents posted on well-known and popular websites. She looked over the terms of use documents for the sites such as the New York Times, Amazon, iPhone, Club Penguin. Then she ran each document through a readability index – a tool that examines a passage and estimates how easy or hard it will be for a person to read the words, as well as what level of education the reader might need to comprehend the information. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in cyber-bullying, digital devices and gadgets, digital downloading, Evaluating Web Resources | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Websites: Reliable or Bogus?

Posted by Marti Weston on September 17, 2011

When we adults were students, we learned to write content-filled essays and reports, introducing the important facts about a subject. We discovered these facts by using quality reference materials, often at a library.

With today’s digitized resources and websites a student follows roughly the same routine, but resource reliability is a significant issue. While it’s easy to find sites with information about a topic, identifying reliable and significant information is more of a challenge. The trick is to discover whether or not a site is a reliable resource.

Help your child determine the quality and reliability of a site before using it as a digital resource. The University of Maryland posts this short handout that explains how to go about evaluating a website.

Many sites appear to be real as well as reliable, but they are bogus. An entertaining website for you and your child to explore is based at the Western Australia Province Department of Education and features bogus websites designed to look accurate and authoritative. Except that they aren’t. Take a few minutes to explore these bogus sites.

Better yet, explore them with your children.

Posted in Back-to-school digital reading, digital learning, Evaluating Web Resources, online research, parents and technology, supervising kids | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Terms of Use — How Much Can You Read?

Posted by Marti Weston on November 12, 2010

I often write about parent-child conversations. We parents initiate these chats all the time, concentrating on this issue or that, and encouraging our children to participate, respond, or even disagree. When the talks focus on digital issues they can be enjoyable or arduous, or anything in-between. The fun but still educational conversations, however, only come along from time-to-time.

So the other day, when I read a posting by Linda Criddle over at the I look Both Ways blog, I became excited because kids will love the discussion on this topic — whether at home or school — and they will learn a lot in the process.

Criddle described her experience examining terms of use documents posted on well-known and popular websites. She looked over the terms of use documents for the sites such as the New York Times, Amazon, iPhone, Club Penguin. Then she ran each document through a readability index – a tool that examines a passage and estimates how easy or hard it will be for a person to read the words, as well as what level of education the reader might need to comprehend the information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in acceptable use, digital parenting, family conversations, media literacy, parents and technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »