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, 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 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”