Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School Digital Parenting Checklist — 2019-20

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

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 and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School Digital Parenting Checklist — 2019-20”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital parenting, family conversations, New York Times, parent child conversations, parents and technology

Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use

screen timeAfter nine years of blogging at MediaTechParenting, I’ve written posts about kids, technology, parenting, screen time, citizenship, 21st Century life, digital devices — well you get the idea. Now a New York Times Smarter Living published report summarizes a good deal of what I’ve been writing about in a parents’ guide to raising and guiding kids in the digital world.

How (and When) to Limit Kids’ Tech Use by Melanie Pinola (@MelaniePinola) includes just about everything a digital age parent needs to know. The comprehensive and well-packaged guide overflows with information. Keep it nearby, whether your child is a new baby, a teenager, or any age in between.

Pinola breaks her digital parenting guide into three parts:   Continue reading “Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use”

Posted in 21st Century life, data collecting, digital footprints, facial recognition, parents and technology, personal data security, privacy

7 Articles to Help You Educate Yourself About Facial Recognition

Privacy is a big topic on this blog, and today, JULY 9, 2019, was an interesting day in the 21st Century privacy department.

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Image from PixaBay

It’s a significant day because just about every newspaper features an article about facial recognition software and how it may be misused by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE). This government agency uses the facial recognition software to go into state driver’s license databases and collect information about the faces associated with those licenses. This is accomplished without the permission of the people whose images they scan.

As a privacy-conscious person, I turn off facial recognition on Facebook, on my phone, and for my photos, but I never considered my driver’s license. I also did not think that researchers might be harvesting photos from social media, using them to test their facial recognition products.

Continue reading “7 Articles to Help You Educate Yourself About Facial Recognition”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century vocabulary words, evaluating video, family conversations, media literacy, parents and technology

Building Habits of Video Evaluation into the Conversation & the Curriculum

Videos are everywhere on social media, but quite a few that we view on various sites are doctored and edited, often seeking to muck up the facts. Understanding how to evaluate and identify red flags in a video is now a critical 21st Century media literacy skill that everyone — parents, students, and educators — needs to acquire.

Recently the staff at Washington Post Fact Checker created a useful teaching and learning tool that can help all of us — young people and adults — understand more about today’s video landscape.

Seeing Isn't Believing
Click to visit the website as the Washington Post.

Seeing Isn’t Believing, the title of this guide to manipulated video, says it all. In today’s always- connected world, with people able to create and publish just about anything they want, we cannot always believe what we see in a video. Instead it’s necessary to take the time to evaluate — considering how the video is made, thinking about the purpose it serves, and looking closely to see if it has been doctored in some way.     Continue reading “Building Habits of Video Evaluation into the Conversation & the Curriculum”

Posted in 21st Century life, American Academy of Pediatrics, defining screen time, parents and technology, screen time, young children

Screen Time?? What Counts & What Doesn’t?

How do you count screen time? Screens are so much a part of our lives, and in just a few moments we can check texts, read the newspaper, and map out a bike route. Our kids see this.

Remote Video Grandchildren Skype Grandparents
Facetiming! A public domain image at Dreamstims.com

It’s been fascinating to watch my grandson gradually become interested in light and then screens over these past four years. Early on he’d glance at any area that was lit up — a window, a lamp, a toy — and eventually I’d see him study, with rapt concentration, a lit up screen or unusual light anywhere in the vicinity. When he was a bit over two, his parents got him a fake toy screen — not at all interesting — but real screens, the type we use in almost every part of our lives, grabbed his attention, and fairly soon he wanted to do things with those devices.

Now four, he thinks screens are a big deal. He’d love to play games, watch TV, or just get mom or dad’s iPad or mobile phone to play a game. However, although he lives in a home with multiple screens, his time is limited, and digital devices are rarely used as a baby sitter or diversion. Besides, he has books, lots of books.

Yet, if I take out my cell phone, or his mom gets out her iPad, he’s right there checking it out and ready to go. When I babysit, it is not uncommon for him to ask if he can watch TV. (Usually, my answer is not right now.)   Continue reading “Screen Time?? What Counts & What Doesn’t?”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital kids, digital parenting strategies, parents and technology, personal data security, security questions

Should You Make Up Answers to Security Questions?

security-questions
Do your security question answers unlock too much information?

Why You Should Lie When Setting Up Password Security Questions, over at the Techlicious site, makes me seriously consider whether the use of security questions — and the answers that we provide —  should be re-evaluated. The 2018 article emphasizes the lack of security and privacy in our lives, and it notes that by giving responses that describe our personal lives we provide virtual keys that can open doors to potential identity theft problems.
Like a lot of people in the educational technology field, I spent a good deal of time helping 21st Century children understand the importance of not lying, especially about their ages. I  encouraged them not to engage in anonymous activities, and I counseled them to avoid sharing made-up information, gossip or innuendo via social media.   Continue reading “Should You Make Up Answers to Security Questions?”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, connected world problems, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, parents and technology, social media

Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 9.54.10 PMDo you find yourself nervous and at wits end about all the problems with social media and kids? Do you dread hearing the next news report about kids, screens, and digital addiction because it feels too close to home? Are you regularly worried about the intensity of your own digital activities?

Few people will argue with the notion that our digital world needs tweaking. With data collecting running amock, hackers breaking into corporations around the world, bad actors using social media for espionage, parents’ worrying about screen time, and our personal privacy and information challenged day in and day out, people tend to panic about their kids and themselves. But panic is nothing new. Continue reading “Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media”