Posted in 21st Century Learning, anonymity, choosing reliable resources, civility, connected learning, conversations on commenting, data collecting, digital citizenship, digital life, digital parenting strategies, fact-checking, information credibility, misinformation, NewseumEd, parents and technology, personal information, privacy

5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations

Parents often ask for suggestions about the steps they can take to help their children develop stronger and more robust digital world skills. I often suggest that families use the time spent eating together at the dinner table to bring up and consider connected world topics. Most adults will recall that, as they grew up, dinner table conversations were a time when family members learned together, chatting about critical issues and challenges in the world, Today’s family mealtimes are just as important. Below are five topics that can encourage learning, lively discussion and improved decision making, all while eating a meal together.

dinnter conv topicsPersonal Information
Begin a discussion about the collection of personal information in the digital world. Share ideas about what comprises an individual’s personal information — considering what can be public and what should not. Why is it important to think about protecting personal information? The MediaTechParenting blog posts below to help get the conversation started.   Continue reading “5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, civility, digital footprints, digital parenting, parents and technology, personal data, privacy

Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying

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A student’s final project.

For years, when I taught seminars in digital citizenship to third, fourth, and fifth graders, the primary topic was always digital footprints. Oh, we discussed and worked on lots of other 21st Century connected-world issues, civility, for instance, but everything seemed to wend its way back to those always-proliferating digital footprints.

We watched and rewatched my favorite digital dossier video from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. The students kept diaries and also asked their parents to do so. They found an online calculator to explore and considered how their permanent digital footprints might look a few years down the road. We made a list of all the potential places that might collect digital footprints, one year creating a list that started at the ceiling, went all the way to the floor and then back up to the ceiling again.

My students were always amazed at the size of their digital dossiers which included, in addition to email, apps, social media, and websites, a range of digital markings that they never considered such as credit cards, license plates, grocery store purchases, EZ pass travel, Amazon purchases, app downloads, and so much more. So when the time came for a final project — more than half or each fifth-grade class chose to concentrate on a digital footprint topic. Two of their posters are shared here. Continue reading “Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying”

Posted in digital change, digital wellness, electronic personal assistant, kids and privacy, parents and technology, personal data, personal data security, privacy

Understanding Kids’ Echo Dot Privacy Controversy: Key Articles to Read

Echo Dot must have seemed like a really good idea, at least to some people, but then the privacy concerns surfaced.

Echo DotIt appears that Echo Dot records what children say, saves that personal information, and apparently, it’s still saved even after parents delete It. A group of child advocacy organizations has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FCC), and they are supported in a detailed letter from a bipartisan group of United States Senators. Amazon insists that they need to collect the recordings to improve the device.

Um, all our kids’ comments and ideas stored for posterity — I mean Amazon? Growing kids say lots of things that they quickly realize they shouldn’t have said. Ask any teacher. Those archived recordings may contain comments that most parents did not even know their kids say. Just imagine the out-of-this-world corporate data trove provided by all those children. Whatever happened to COPPA?

Below are a few articles to help adults learn more about the kids’ personal assistant privacy issue and how it may affect children.  Continue reading “Understanding Kids’ Echo Dot Privacy Controversy: Key Articles to Read”

Posted in anonymous apps, First Amendment, nothing is permanently erased, parents and technology, saved credit cards

How Much Do You Know About the First Amendment? Take a Quiz

Everyone in the United States needs to learn more about a United States document that defines our freedom.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is short and succinct with just 45 words.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

1st amendment quiz
Click on the image to go to the quiz.

Written by James Madison the First Amendment (1A) gives Americans five freedoms — of the press, of speech, of religion, to petition, and to assemble.

Thus the government cannot tell people how to worship, limit what they can say and talk about, or interfere with the press. The words in the First Amendment also say that the government cannot stop people from getting together or assembling peacefully and cannot stop them from asking the government to make changes or just telling the government that they disagree with something.

Continue reading “How Much Do You Know About the First Amendment? Take a Quiz”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital devices, digital parenting, parental control apps, screen time

Five Articles About the Apple Parental Control App Controversy

The thing is, I love Apple. I’ve owned various Apple computers since 1984 and iPhones for almost ten years. Not to mention various other items like iPods and IPads. But once in a while, I find the policies in the App Store to be dispiriting. Now is one of those times.

screentimeAs a specialist in 21st Century educational technology and media literacy, I’ve often helped parents select a parental control app that is right for each family. Lots of these apps are out there, and they allow adults to ensure that their children are not misusing their mobile devices

Many of these parents realized the need for these apps, bought them — and used them — early on. Digital parenting is challenging, many of these parents took their responsibilities seriously, and the companies that enabled these good decisions should also be taken seriously.

Frankly, when it comes to monitoring screen time, Apple came late to the party. Continue reading “Five Articles About the Apple Parental Control App Controversy”

Posted in 21st Century life, Internet statistics, online communication, online data collecting, web research

Twitter’s Got Bots: Lots of T​hem

Pew Twitter bots

Twitter is becoming a more influential part of everyday 21st Century life. However, we all need to understand that not all tweets are sent by people.

Recently Pew Internet researchers designed a Twitter study aiming to figure out what portion of tweet traffic comes from bots. Bots are automated programs that tweet or retweet information around the web, but they do so without the help of people.

Bots are not necessarily bad or nefarious. Tweets that announce weather, traffic, remind you of a concert starting time, or warn communities of nearby problems serve a constructive purpose, but they are often sent by bots.    Continue reading “Twitter’s Got Bots: Lots of T​hem”