I just finished reading a New York Times Well Blog article about Screenagers, a new documentary that addresses the challenge that too much screen time presents for families. The March 15, 2016 piece by Jennifer Jolly interviews Dr. Dulaney Ruston (read about some of her past projects), the director of the documentary, Screenagers. Dr. Ruston is also in the film.
This movie shares evidence-based scientific research on screen time — a reason the movie will become an important resource for educators and parents as they struggle with the issue of how to manage 21st Century young people and screen time. The experts in the film offer advice about how to support and guide young people as they grow up in a densely digital age. Thank goodness the film focuses on facts and does not inspire fear.
So many digital parenting books and articles generate fear and anxiety, and American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers is no exception. The big question is whether or not this book, or any of the others, can inspire parents to get serious, learn about the relationships and issues their children encounter with poorly supervised mobile devices, and then figure out how to guide and, yes, supervise their children.
Journalist Nancy Jo Sales offered us a preview of her book in a 2013 Vanity Fair article, Friends Without Benefits, and now that I’ve read both the book and the article, I’d recommend going for the article. The book definitely offers many more interviews with girls, providing an intensive gaze through the prism of 21st Century adolescent digital life.
Check out a cool infographic over at Tuned in Parents that addresses many screen time questions. The image was created using information from abroad array of evidence-based research conducted by organizations such as Common Sense Media, The American Academy of Pediatrics, Zero to Three, PBS, and a number of research sources, and the infographic addresses many of the questions that parents continuously mull over.
Screen time is for many of us is a conundrum. Most parents and teachers (and grandparents, too) wonder just how to balance the time children spend with screens. Our goal, after all, is to create digital wellness for our children and ourselves — a sometimes lofty goal.
Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. A list gives parents a head start, helping them understand challenges, set explanations and guidelines, anticipate problems, and most importantly, set the stage for responsible and respectful use of extraordinarily powerful devices.
Many parents I speak with point out how little time they have to go through this sort of checklist — but the time spent now is nothing compared the time drain that occurs after your child experiences a connected world problem. It’s worth your time to consider the checklist now.
As parents and educators, we quickly come to understand how stories help young people learn.
Unfortunately, when it comes to digital parenting and digital citizenship, we do not have many positive children’s stories — the kind you can sit down and read with a child. We know what we want children to learn as they grow up and use more and more digital devices in a connected world. We are also gradually coming to understand that citizenship and digital citizenship are one and the same.
We need lots more stories that illustrate the way digital life should be lived — stories that we can share with 21st Century children when they are young.
I’ve been waiting and waiting. I realized that the KarmaGo was a new device, but I had no idea how popular it would be or how long I’d have to wait for it (like nearly two months). So about two weeks ago I wrote to ask EXACTLY WHEN I might expect it. And the customer service folks got right back to me, explaining that more people had ordered than expected, and that I should have it in hand within two weeks. Also they offered me another gigabyte of memory to use with this mini (and cute) wifi router.
It’s been two weeks and now I have it in my hand, so check out the photo of my new KarmaGo and the handy little felt bag to use when I carry it around in my purse. The felt container ensures that I don’t turn it on by accident. What a nifty little 21st Century gadget!
For those of your who don’t know, the KarmaGo is a mini router with portable wifi that I’ll carry around. I can turn it on whenever I need wifi and keep if off when I’m not using it. I buy the wifi access that I require. as I need it and I’ll be learning a lot in the next few days!
“Our goal,” he writes, “shouldn’t be to ban access to powerful tools for learning. Instead, our goal should be to show the students in our classrooms how to take full advantage of the learning potential sitting inside their purses and their back pockets”.
Read the entire blog post which addresses — broadly — the opportunities for learning that digital devices offer 21st Century students. Lots of educators may disagree with Ferriter’s view, but the fact is we fight a loosing mobile device battle. Students own these devices, and while they are always close at hand and the kids know how to use them to connect with others, most have no understanding for the true learning power of these devices offer. We could help them learn a lot more and become more thoughtful about using their mobiles.