Posted in 21st Century parenting, cell phones, digital devices, digital kids, image sharing, parents and technology

To Share or Not to Share a Photo?

Infographics_Post a Photo_letter_051712_letter sizeCommon Sense Media has, for years, posted this excellent image-sharing resource, and it’s as timely today as it was when it was first published. The infographic posits a series of questions for 21st Century middle and high school kids to consider before deciding to share a photo on a digital device.

The questions probably take less than a minute to think about — time well spent if a digital child identifies certain potential consequences and decides not to share an image. Continue reading “To Share or Not to Share a Photo?”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, American Academy of Pediatrics, digital parenting, early childhood, family life, parents and technology, print versus electronic books, reading, reading on electronic devices, reading with children, toddlers

Print Books: Better Than Digital for Toddlers!

img_0795Are print books better for young learners and especially toddlers? Ask almost anyone in early child development and they will likely say yes, print books are so much better in so many ways. Many educational technology specialists — people like me who love learning with technology — will say the same thing. You can also read this New York Times article by pediatrician, Perri Klass.

Dr. Klass writes about a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published at the journal Pediatrics. They conducted their research with 37 parent-child pairs who read together in three formats — print, electronic, and electronic with extra bells and whistles such as sound effects. Readers were videotaped. Toddlers and parents verbalized but interacted and collaborated less with electronic books. Then the researchers studied the recordings and coded the verbalizations and behavior or the parents and children.                 Continue reading “Print Books: Better Than Digital for Toddlers!”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital citizenship case study, evaluating news, hoax, parents and technology

Oh No! It’s MOMO! … Psssst — It’s a Hoax

Well my title says it all. I read, quite by accident, a crazy MoMo post by someone named Wanda —a scary, urgent, bang-on-the-drum essay. Then there was the video… I am pleased to say that my hoax antenna is pretty well-tuned, and my reaction was, “Here we go again.” In truth I also realized that something similar had been around the digital world a few times before. But since then I’ve watched it travel, once again all over the world.

A viral hoax travels around the world.

Both the New York Times and the Atlantic have published articles about the MoMo hoax. They are worth reading and sharing, so check them out.

I am stunned that guidance counselors, police departments, sheriffs, and all sorts of other community leaders, even a few national leaders  (ummm, not to mention parents) did not do their media literacy evaluation homework before they responded, no freaked out.           Continue reading “Oh No! It’s MOMO! … Psssst — It’s a Hoax”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, digital change, digital devices, digital footprints, family life, learning and the brain, parents and technology, personal voice assistants

Should Babies Learn Alexa’s Name Before Mama’s?

Check out a fascinating article, When Your Kid Tries to Say ‘Alexa’ Before Mama, in the November 27, 2017 Washington Post. Tech reporter Hayley Tsukayama describes how a young child responds to the Alexa voice assistant in his house, calling out her name before learning his mom’s. She also writes about the personal voice assistant universe and expert opinions.

51ciPnzyhQL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_I am not sure what to think and, yes, it is amusing.

Yet I keep wondering whether digital toys and devices, especially those that talk, tend to distract babies and toddlers as they go about learning words and begin to carry on a basic conversation. Babies are hard-wired to learn the language that their parents speak — the words, the pitch, the intonation — and it seems like inserting digital conversations into the equation could slow down the process, or at least not be helpful. Twenty-first Century life is becoming more complex for every age as we sail nonstop into an increasingly digital world.

Continue reading “Should Babies Learn Alexa’s Name Before Mama’s?”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, parents and technology, preschoolers, toddlers, young children

Young Children, YouTube Kids & Learning: Thoughts to Consider

If you have preschoolers in your family, check out The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube, appearing in The Atlantic.

YouTube Kids splash screenWritten by Adrienne LaFrance, the eye-opening article describes how the YouTube Kids app works as well as the experiences of 21st Century preschool children who use it. The author also shares thoughts about the app (though not endorsements) from academics including Michael Rich, who directs the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard Medical School and Sandra Calvert, who heads up the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University.

It appears that many older toddlers and preschool kids spend a considerable amount of time with YouTube Kids. They love the app, and the article in The Atlantic details many of the reasons why.

Continue reading “Young Children, YouTube Kids & Learning: Thoughts to Consider”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, collaboration, device-free times, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital parenting, digital wellness, parents and technology, tech free time

Collaborative Family Digital Activities For Summer 2017

Summer 2017 is here, and as we enjoy family fun, outdoor activities, trips to museums and historical sites, vacations, and all sorts of camps and special programs, it’s also important to discover activities that will help 21st Century children use screen time creatively and wisely.

So with less frenetic schedules and no school, use the summer months to collaborate — that’s parents and kids doing things together. Adults can learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of young people’s 21st Century lives, and kids can engage in meaningful, creative, and interesting projects — and even have fun working with their parents. The pay-off? Everyone will figure out more about digital life and add variety to the types of digital activities that they typically do.

Below are 12 family digital project summer suggestions — all work best if people work together —  to consider for summer 2017.

Twelve Summer Digital Projects for Families                        Continue reading “Collaborative Family Digital Activities For Summer 2017”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, cultural changes, digital change, new technologies

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 “Virtual Reality Is Amazing & a Little Bit Scary”