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”

Posted in 21st Century life, cybersecurity, data collecting, data sharing, parents and technology, personal data, privacy

Senator Edward J. Markey Proposes A Privacy Bill of Rights

Every day, it seems, we hear of another hack of credit cards or the theft of personal data from health records. It’s difficult to keep track of it all, much less protect passwords (are yours secure?), various accounts for home and work, personal information and so much more. Yet it’s not just hackers. Many legitimate companies collect and share personal data, and they do it without an individual’s consent. It seems like more and more companies are cavalier about the privacy of their customers.

Now Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced federal privacy legislation that aims to protect American consumers’ personal information by proposing a Privacy Bill of Rights. Senate Bill would establish a set of clear rules that specify how companies can use personal information and what they can and cannot do. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would have the authority to make and enforce rules.

Senator Markey’s press release clearly specifies what the Privacy Bill of Rights Act will do. The proposed policies would: Continue reading “Senator Edward J. Markey Proposes A Privacy Bill of Rights”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital kids, digital life, digital parenting, modeling for kids, moderation, texting and driving

Moderation in Today’s Jam-packed World

When my brother and I were growing up in the Midwest, my dad had a big sign — about one foot by two feet — with one word. MODERATION. The sign sat for years, somewhat incongruously, in our living room, so it was impossible to miss when we were watching television, reading, doing our homework, playing games, or entering and leaving the house. It was also perfectly placed for the times when my parents’ college students came over to the house for extra study help.

moderation wordsDad’s goal was for us to think, as often as possible, about self-regulating and managing our daily activities, whether we were engaged in a favorite or a not-so-favorite endeavor.

In today’s hyper-connected world, understanding the importance of moderation is a critical skill. We all — adults and children — live fast-paced 21st-Century lives that center on the media and our digital devices. Thus everyone needs to know how to hit the pause button, disengage, and refocus attention elsewhere.

Continue reading “Moderation in Today’s Jam-packed World”

Posted in 21st Century life, acceptable use, cell phones, civility, digital devices, digital parenting, mobile phones, parents and technology

KTRK-TV Lists 14 Apps that Parents of Teens Should Learn More About

It’s been some time since I’ve discussed specific mobile phone apps on MediaTechParenting, but a few days ago, KTRK-TV, an ABC.com affiliate, posted a list of fourteen of them and encouraged parents to learn whether their 21st Century children use these apps on their cell phones.

14 phone apps for parents to learn about
Click to visit the list @ KTRK.

The Texas-based television station’s list includes several apps that may be familiar, such as Instagram, Ask.fm, and Snapchat, but others, such as Holla, Omegle, and Hot or Not, are not as well-known. Some of these apps, in the hands of teenagers, encourage questionable and even uncivil behavior, so they are definitely worth some parent study time. Continue reading “KTRK-TV Lists 14 Apps that Parents of Teens Should Learn More About”

Posted in 21st Century life, digital devices, digital health and wellness, images, parents and technology, privacy

Three Concepts that Build a​ Foundation for Digital Wellness​ & Health

unnamedVarious types of digital devices and toys are now a given in the lives of many children — even toddlers and preschoolers. From three and four years of age, many of their play activities include a vast array of toys and books that talk, beep, sing, cue activity, and  play music. Even two-year-olds quickly learn how to use digital devices — after all they are generally adept at figuring out cause and effect and how to operate buttons.

The moment children begin to hold or play with digital devices of any kind is the time for parents and adult mentors to begin introducing three important digital life concepts — privacy, fairness, and respecting images. These three connected-life values, introduced early and reinforced regularly, contribute to a child’s long-term digital wellness. The  three concepts create a knowledge base that supports decision-making as a child grows older, uses more powerful digital tools, and faces increased peer pressure.   Continue reading “Three Concepts that Build a​ Foundation for Digital Wellness​ & Health”

Posted in 21st Century life, brain, cell phones, changing digital habits, digital devices, digital habits, Facebook, moderation

A Bit Less Facebook, a Bit More Writing & Piano Practice — I Feel More Relaxed

It’s been nearly four weeks since I wrote Digital Device Time Off, a post that described how one individual readjusted his extreme mobile phone habits, aiming to become less addicted to using his phone to fill every moment of the day.

apple applications apps cell phone
Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

After writing the post, I decided to keep track of my phone use, and lo and behold, I discovered that I have some of the same tendencies. So, I made a resolution to cut back a bit.

I decided to start with Facebook. I found that I opened Facebook many times each day, mostly because I received a notification or discovered something interesting to share with friends. But I also decided to start with Facebook because the company’s myriad privacy and data collecting problems sometimes make me want to completely wean myself off.             Continue reading “A Bit Less Facebook, a Bit More Writing & Piano Practice — I Feel More Relaxed”