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.
As 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.
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.
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”→
Common 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.
Various 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”→
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.