Posted in 21st century job hunting, 21st Century life, anonymity, anonymous apps, apps, citizenship, conversations on commenting, cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, educating digital natives, family conversations, parents and technology

Teach Children About Anonymity Before They Make Mistakes

childing typingAnonymity presents digital kids with a complicated social obstacle — one they must confront and understand if they are to protect themselves from potential problems. Digital anonymity is not a friendly concept for growing children. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s downright dangerous, but app makers continue to offer the feature. For now these apps are a part of many digital kids’ daily lives, often negatively affecting their digital wellness.

No child with a connected device is immune from possible trouble caused by anonymity, because issues can arise in an instant, often as a part of routine online social interactions. Anonymous opportunities take advantage of kids’ developing brains, encouraging them to make public mistakes in judgment, and enabling young people, sometimes as young as third or fourth grade, to act and communicate with less and less restraint. A mistake made with an app’s anonymity feature can be hurtful or humiliating.

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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 parenting, digital change, digital devices, digital wellness, digital-device-free times, mentoring digital kids, modeling for kids, parents and technology

After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids — 2016 Update

iphone-6s
My new iPhone, purchased in early 2016.

Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. This list gives parents a head start, identifying challenges, offering explanations, anticipating problems, and most importantly, setting the stage for responsible and respectful use of exciting but extraordinarily powerful devices.

The time adults spend preparing for new devices that enter a family’s life is well spent and spending that time up front may well prevent a huge time drain later on after a your child experiences a connected world problem. Parents are simultaneously guides, limits setters, and lifeguards, whether or not they know as much about digital life as their children.

The MediaTechParenting 2016
         Digital Parents’ Holiday and Beyond Checklist        

Continue reading “After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids — 2016 Update”

Posted in 21st Century life, hateful comments, offensive speech, parents and technology

Teaching Children (and Adults) to Extricate Themselves from Offensive Situations

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few taps on the keyboard.
Expressing hate is so easy with just a few comments or taps on the keyboard. Develop strategies to contain it.

Can a person learn how to respond to an offensive or hateful situation? Can adults help 21st Century young people master the skills? Earlier this fall I wrote a post, Is Hate Speech Here to Stay?, wondering if up-front, in-your-face hate and offensive speech will be a continuing problem in our connected world.

Recently a New York Times article, Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech, described the challenges and awkwardness that individuals experience when they happen to hear or see a person engaging in offensive activity. The piece highlighted research about what occurs when people challenge offensive speech, and it suggests concrete steps that a person can take when confronted by offensive behavior or speech. The authors, Benedict Carey and Jan Hoffman, point out that researchers have consistently found that a person who makes the awful comments will often curb behavior when another expresses reservations or reacts in a more indirect way.

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Posted in 21st Century life, anonymity, anonymous apps, commenting, digital world reading habits, ethical behavior, hate groups on the web, online hate, parents and technology, raising digital kids

Is Hate Speech in the Connected World Here to Stay?

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few taps on the keyboard.
Expressing hate is takes just a few taps on a keyboard.

Hate speech has been around for a long time, but the connected world has amplified it. Sometimes hateful and threatening comments on social media and in comment sections feel like they are run-of-the-mill daily events. Sadly, Twitter, an awesome social media communications platform — one that I and many educators use and adore — has offered one of the easiest pathways for hate speech amplification. Twitter makes it easy to be “sort-of” anonymous.

For a good overview of Twitter’s online hate problems, take a few minutes to read Jim Rutenberg’s New York Times article, On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit. Rutenburg shares some of the hateful accusations he’s received and talks about the challenges that Twitter faces with so much hateful, accusatory, and threatening speech. He notes that Twitter, which is no longer growing its subscriber base, is now for sale. Gutenberg speculates on who might purchase it. “You have to wonder,” he writes, “whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred.”                                                    Continue reading “Is Hate Speech in the Connected World Here to Stay?”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, education not fear, Facebook, parents and technology, risky behavior, social media, supervising digital kids, values in digital life

On Digital Parenting Fear, Part #2 – We Must Know More About Kids’ Digital Lives

fear-riskIn our connected world unfamiliar activities make adults worry about kids, and violent and exploitative events, some connected to the digital world, make us fear for our children’s safety. This past week two events, a 13-year-old’s ruthless murder that was associated with online app interactions and a Wall Street Journal article, Cyberthieves Have a New Target: Children, made many of us wonder, once again, whether the digital world is degrading the quality of our lives.

Cybertheives PM

For me the week reinforced the importance of parents understanding what their children are up to on digital devices. It’s a serious responsibility, it requires enormous time and energy, and we cannot hire outside experts to do it for us. The work requires every parenting skill that we’ve ever developed and more, and if you are not up to it you need to consult a parent education organization, such as the Parenting Encouragement Program (PEP) in my area, that offers training to parents. Continue reading “On Digital Parenting Fear, Part #2 – We Must Know More About Kids’ Digital Lives”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, acceptable use, collaborating with kids, digital devices, digital kids, digital wellness, distracted driving, family conversations, gadgets and sleep, media and family life, modeling for kids, monitoring kids online, parents and technology

After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids: What to Do

I’m getting a new iPhone 6s!
I’m getting a new iPhone 6s!

Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. A list gives parents a head start, helping them understand challenges, set explanations and guidelines, anticipate problems, and most importantly, set the stage for responsible and respectful use of extraordinarily powerful devices.

Many parents I speak with point out how little time they have to go through this sort of checklist — but the time spent now is nothing compared the time drain that occurs after your child experiences a connected world problem. It’s worth your time to consider the checklist now.

The MediaTechParenting 2015
         Digital Parents’ Holiday and Beyond Checklist        

Continue reading “After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids: What to Do”