Melinda Gates Parents Digital Kids, Too

Parenting digital kids?

kids devices Gates

Image downloaded from Pixabay.

If you sometimes feel lonely and unprepared as you take steps to craft appropriate media guidelines for your family, check out Melinda Gates’ digital parenting essay I Spent My Career in Technology: I Wasn’t Prepared for It’s Effect on My Kids, appearing in the August 24, 2017, edition of the Washington Post. Her family experiences some of the same 21st Century challenges.

Despite spending years working at Microsoft, Gates describes her amazement at the pace of change and the ways that digital activities have taken over, in different ways, the lives of her children. She compares and contrasts her older child’s technology experiences with the increased access of her younger daughter. And she thinks about and shares a range of resources to help parents understand more about digital wellness and how to raise children who understand the digital world where they live.

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Great Tutorial for Parents Setting Up Kids’ iPhones

kid & smartphone

Via Pixabay.

Are you planning to purchase a new iPhone for a digital kid your family?

If so, check out a recently published article, How to Secure Your Kid’s iPhone,  aimed at parents who want to administer and set up controls on the iPhones that their 21st Century children will be using. The piece in PC Magazine is chock full of suggestions, covering  topics such as setting up restrictions, making family sharing groups, choosing passwords, preserving privacy, choosing a browser, turning various phone features on (and off) and much, much more.

Written by Eric Griffith, the July 2017 article, which includes plenty of links to other information, is a must-read for any parents who purchase or plans to purchase a new iPhone to give to a young family member.

And after setting up your child’s iPhone, don’t forget that your work is just beginning. c Become a mentor for your child and strike up regular conversations about civility, digital wellness and citizenship.

Can You & Your Kids Balance Life With So Much Social Media & Tech?

Image from Pixabay.

Take a few minutes to read Five Ways Parents Can Help Kids Balance Social Media With the Real World, appearing in the July 11, 2017 Washington Post.

Written by Adrienne Wichard-Edds, the Post article offers common sense suggestion that parents can use to establish a sense of balance between digital endeavors and the rest of a family’s activities. Most of the ideas come from Ana Homayoun’s, Social Media Wellness:  Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World.                     Continue reading

Privacy: When Will They Ever Learn?

Uploaded by Mancala at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

What will it take to make adolescents and teens understand that what they do just about anywhere is not private — even if it’s digital and feels like a limited number of others will know? Perhaps we are about to find out.

Harvard University recently rescinded acceptances from ten or more incoming students who formed a “private” Facebook page and traded sexually explicit and disgusting memes about kids, women, and people of color. Putting aside the loathsome behavior — just for a moment — why on earth would these young people consider any Facebook group or any other online group to be private, even if it has private in its name?

Crimson reporter Hannah Natanson writes:

In the group students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups…

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My Need For Google Decreases Each Time My Privacy Feels Threatened

I’ve written before about the growing loss of privacy in our 21st Century lives.

Just about everything we do these days creates data that can be collected by someone. Found on Pixabay.

Now, after reading the Washington Post article Google Now Knows When Its Users Go to the Store to Buy Stuff, I am even more concerned about privacy. Fellow blog readers, you should be too.

In essence, Google is now using credit card data, to combine with the data it has already collected about us, to learn more about our purchases — those made online and and those we purchase without any online connection. The goal, according to Washington Post reporters Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg, is to discover whether Google’s  searches and its advertisements have helped  people decide what to buy — even when a purchase isn’t made online.

The company continues to collect data and learn more and more about people of all ages. That’s creepy. It feels even more creepy when I consider how we use Gmail in my family to share calendars and when I look at the Google Dashboard that keeps track of and shares with me some of the data Google has collect about us.

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Virtual Reality Is Amazing & a Little Bit Scary

My virtual reality head-gear.

Many years ago, at a conference on the campus of Virginia Tech, I entered a virtual reality (VR) area — I think it was  called “the cave” —  with all sorts of things going on around me. I think I was expecting the holodeck from Star Trek, where they went through a door and suddenly found themselves on vacation in a beautiful and peaceful place (check out what Virginia Tech’s video that describes virtual reality and the holodeck). Instead during my first foray into VR I wore big goggles, and I got a bit dizzy. So I’ve been a bit hesitant to try again.

This past week I gave virtual reality another try, this time at the Newseum VR Lab in Washington, DC. I was handed a pair of goggles, put them on, and followed the instructions to start the show. Continue reading

Are You Sometimes “Botified” When You Communicate Online?

Watch David Ryan Polgar’s video below.

Take some time to watch an interesting video, Are We Becoming Bots, presented by tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar. In his video Polgar describes how in today’s digital age, each person is connected to many, many other people. Too many connections can lead individuals to send “botified” responses —  meaning that we sometimes behave more like robots and less like people. “Botified” behavior occurs because of the digital world challenges that arise when we try to accommodate way too many online connections.                                Continue reading