Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital footprints, digital kids, digital learning, parents and technology

How We Teach Digital Citizenship Makes a Difference

Digital Citizenship Posters Become a Hallway Exhibit
Digital Citizenship Posters Become a Month Long Hallway Exhibit

When it comes to digital citizenship, we cannot just lecture or watch videos.

Everyone learns best by doing — whether it’s tying a shoe, mastering letter sounds, figuring out a science concept, learning to drive, parenting a new baby, or any other activity, including what we need to figure out on computers and digital devices. When people tell us how to do something by talking a lot, most of us can’t wait for the person to stop talking so we can try to do it ourselves.

Now consider how we have gone about teaching 21st Century children — at home and at school — about digital devices and digital world behavior. Mostly adults talk and talk, telling children, pre-adolescents, and teens about all the things that can go wrong and explaining what we don’t want them to do.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve spent way too much time talking to kids about digital life issues and not nearly enough time doing things with them. So these past few years I’ve changed the way I teach.                              Continue reading “How We Teach Digital Citizenship Makes a Difference”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital footprints, digital kids, digital world conversations, parents and technology

Digital Footprint Series on All Things Considered

collecting dataWe cannot discuss digital footprints and privacy with children and family members too much or too often. The point is not to scare anyone — the virtual trails that we leave are becoming almost routine — but rather to help family members consider how much data we share, intentionally or otherwise, and whether at times we should consider making at least a few changes in our online behavior.

On September 30, 2013, NPR’s All Things Considered program aired the first of a series of reports on digital footprints, and it’s worth taking the time to listen or read and to learn more about just how much data is collected on each of us. I expect the other reports will be just as compelling. NPR is collaborating on the series with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIROnline.org).

Reporter Daniel Zwerdling describes the obvious digital trails we leave behind with our computers, mobile phones, GPS-guided car trips, and credit card purchases, and also our less-than-obvious footprints from prescription drug purchases, traffic camera sitings, and wifi tracking and facial recognition cameras that track us in shopping malls. That we make digital footprints is not surprising, however, the amount of data that is collected about us and used to form profiles is extensive and worrisome.  Privacy — our privacy — has gone out the window.             Continue reading “Digital Footprint Series on All Things Considered”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, blogging, commenting, conversations on commenting, digital footprints, family conversations, parents and technology

Encouraging Digital Kids to Write Polished Comments

commenting sprialPart of becoming a strong 21st Century digital learner is mastering the art of writing and sharing comments online.

If you read comments at the end of articles or blog postings — even at some of the respected newspapers and magazines — you have surely discovered more than a few inappropriate and sometimes distasteful remarks. Sometimes people leave these comments anonymously — individuals who do not understand why websites invite visitors to share thoughts and ideas. Sadly, many unfiltered remarks are permanently attached to websites — personal indiscretions (digital footprints) waiting for the whole world to discover. Even leaving an anonymous comment is not particularly secure, though many people — kids and adults — think they are off the hook and hiding when they leave comments without a name attached.

Read a short post and watch a video on newspaper comments, uploaded by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. Some newspapers sites, such as the Boston Globehave updated their policies and now post a short and succinct comment policy that tells users what the publication expects from comment writers.

Helping your child avoid public website blunders, not to mention future humiliation, is one reason to discuss commenting etiquette on a regular basis. Children don’t know or they forget that all comments leave digital footprint trails, little paths of information that last much longer than a child’s pre-adolescent and even teenage years.

Confusion arises because many children first encounter commenting opportunities in places where adult supervision is scarce. As a result, an impulsive idea can beat out good common sense even when a child knows better. Bottom line — response and commenting areas are not places to leave nasty, sarcastic, rude, or hateful conversation.

Continue reading “Encouraging Digital Kids to Write Polished Comments”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital footprints, digital parenting, kids and privacy, privacy

Privacy Matters So Talk With Kids About It

Privacy spiral
Created with Festisite

After recent news reports about the National Security Agency (NSA) and its data collecting, we adults are thinking much more about the lack of privacy in our lives. We need to remember, however, that including children and adolescents in the conversation is important if they are to become competent and confident digital citizens.

With our online profiles, social media accounts, mobile devices, and files saved to the cloud, almost no one doubts that we have less privacy; however, what is an ideological or big discussion issue for adults is far more complicated and abstract for children. For most adults the sentinel issue — how much data collection intrudes on a family’s or individual’s personal life — is a primary focus. The issue for children, on the other hand, is that without a basic understanding of privacy concepts they lack the information and the skills that they need to recognize and avoid potential problems.

Many years ago my parents designated important topics for dinner table conversations — broad subjects that we recycled again and again as the four of us shared family meals. When one or the other parent said, “We should talk about that at dinner,” my brother and I knew it was something that Mom and Dad wanted us to take seriously.

Today children and adolescents need to experience this same type of dinner table conversation to help them learn about privacy and develop strategies for maintaining as much of it as possible.   Continue reading “Privacy Matters So Talk With Kids About It”

Posted in conversations on commenting, digital footprints, digital learning, digital parenting, digital world conversations, family conversations, parents and technology

Encouraging Digital Kids to Write Polished Comments

Comment

Part of becoming a strong 21st Century digital learner is mastering the art of writing and sharing comments online.

If you read comments at the end of articles or blog postings, you have surely discovered more than a few inappropriate and sometimes distasteful remarks. Sometimes people leave these comments anonymously. Posted by folks who do not understand why websites invite visitors to share thoughts and ideas, many unfiltered remarks are permanently attached to websites — personal indiscretions waiting for the whole world to discover. Even leaving an anonymous comment is not particularly secure.

Read a short post and watch a video on newspaper comments, uploaded by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. Some newspapers sites, such as the Boston Globe, post a short and succinct comment policy with a link to a more detailed document.

Helping children avoid public website blunders is one reason to discuss commenting etiquette. Children don’t know or they forget that all comments leave digital footprint trails, little paths of information that last much longer than a child’s pre-adolescent and even teenage years.

Continue reading “Encouraging Digital Kids to Write Polished Comments”

Posted in digital footprints, digital parenting, Do Not Track Kids Act, online security, online tracking, privacy

Stop Tracking Kids: Protect Their Privacy on the Web

Image made with WordFoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

While people worry a lot about kids and their digital access, the most critical aspect to me — and the most likely to cause an eventual problem for a child — is the degree to which information can be tracked and collected while children work and play in the web.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

For more information, read Tell the FTC to Stand Up for Children’s Privacy at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood website.

Posted in acceptable use, data collecting, data sharing, digital footprints, digital parenting, Do Not Track Kids Act, parents and technology, privacy

Kids’ Online Privacy Legislation – Will It Ever Happen?

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

Much of what a child or teen does online gets added to a digital profile. Even when information is not supposed to be collected, it accumulates – somewhere. Moreover, when a child or adolescent acts impulsively or thoughtlessly online, no way exists to erase or delete a digital mistake. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society posts a great digital dossier video that parents and educators may want to use as a conversation tool.

To learn a lot more about the state of privacy policy, especially as it concerns children and adolescents, read the article Congress Revisits Online Privacy Legislation over at Boston.com.

Continue reading “Kids’ Online Privacy Legislation – Will It Ever Happen?”