Digital Parenting Booster Shot? A Healthy Child Metaphor

If you are getting ready for Back-to-School or Curriculum Nights at your school, here’s a post from September 2015 the illustrates the importance of including digital wellness information in all-school and classroom presentations.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

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:                                   

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Sharenting? A Child’s Digital Future Requires Careful Consideration Today

It was so much easier when we shared in photo albums!

It was so much easier when we shared in photo albums!

I’ve often written about sharenting — defined as digital age parents sharing their 21st Century kids’ photos, stories, and information via Facebook, blogs, and other public online social media.

If you are mulling over the sharenting topic and want more guidance and perspective, take a few minutes to read a just-published article over at Sonya Livingstone’s Parenting for a Digital Future blog. The article, written by Alicia Blum-Ross, Where and When Does a Parent’s Right to Share End Online?, discusses the ways that bloggers who are also parents think about sharing information online and the “digital dilemma” that they experience. Blum-Ross also explores how these parents consider the future that their children will experience while growing up and examining the digital information about themselves.

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Quizzes? Fun, but Each Quiz Wants Your Information

If like me you get a kick out of taking Facebook quizzes and sharing your results with friends, it’s time to think a bit more about caution and privacy. Have you ever wondered why these quizzes pop up on your account? Parents, teachers, and students all need to understand that these quizzes have little to do with entertainment and lots to do with getting people to part with personal information.

What is an IP Address?

What is an IP Address?

If you do not know much about online quizzes, and you take them or are tempted by many of them, spend a few minutes  reading What You Need to Know About Online Quizzes and Surveys over at the Webroot website and Facebook Quizzes: What Happens to Your Data at the BBC. Essentially, when you take a quiz you freely give out your personal information — and it’s not just the answers you provide, but also the data you allow the quiz creator to access. You also give up a bit more of your personal privacy and may have a small app installed on your Facebook page.

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The Screen Time Equation – Crafting Thoughtful Solutions to a Digital Life Dilemma

screen time

What is screen media?

Crafting screen time guidelines for all family members is a great back-to-school undertaking, but coming up with guidance that is fair and equitable requires family members to consider and answer a range of questions.

Devoting beginning-of-the-year time — at home and at school — to examine solutions to the screen time equation will help 21st Century  children find and understand answers to the most challenging question that so many of us ask, “What exactly is screen time?” To help get started the whole family can  listen to a radio program about screen time, a 2015 broadcast on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.

Schools can support and collaborate with families by helping students understand the usefulness of non-screen activities, specifying clearly to parents and students the academic expectations for school digital devices at home, and explaining in detail what students are expected to do and use when they complete work online. Refocusing on multitasking (It’s not possible.) is also a good idea as well as stating the school’s commitment to student privacy.         Continue reading

9 Digital Parenting Back-to-School Tips – 2016 (With Printable PDF)

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Click to download a PDF document.

What can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids, with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online activities, get off to a good start at the beginning of the school year?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members.

To help you consider the issues in your 21st Century child’s digital life, and your own, use the this nine-item back-to-school digital parenting checklist to get started. Continue reading

Farewell Dr. Papert: May Your Technology & Learning Vision Live Forever!

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Professor Seymour Papert passed away recently.

A picture I took onside the MIT Media Lab.

A picture I took inside the MIT Media Lab.

While he had been fragile for some time following an accident, his extraordinary influence on teaching and learning, including how he really created the maker movement more than 25 years ago, will continue for many years to come.

Without his wisdom and vision, many educators in the school technology fields, where I spent most of my career,  would not have been fortunate enough to pursue exciting and deeply meaningful vocations. Every school, every teacher, every educational technology specialist, and every K-12 technology director can trace their professional activities back to Dr. Papert’s deep understanding of the power of learning with computers and digital devices. The Media Lab remembrance page notes that:

Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves.

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