Media Literacy Educators Are Not Responsible for Society’s Digital Problems

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-10-39-42-pmThe Media Literacy community is dedicated and passionate about its work — but not according to danah boyd (yes she spells her name this way).

I’ve just read her article, Did Media Literacy Backfire? and honestly, I am puzzled. Boyd aptly describes today’s problems with unsubstantiated information and dramatic cultural divides, but she goes on to blame media literacy.

Medialit has no causal relationship with the cultural issues that divide us. In fact, if there is any connection between today’s digital information and cultural communication problems it’s that we don’t have nearly enough school literacy programs to help all students learn how to deconstruct and consume media.

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Can iPads Help Kids Stay Calm & Avoid Meds Before Surgery?

ipad-1Sometimes kids get so ultra-focused on their iPads that they don’t notice anything that’s going on around them, and sometimes parents and teachers despair. There are, however, situations where 21st Century digital kids’ intensive engagement and concentration can be put to good use — even with a digital device.

Physician Dominique Chassard, an anesthesiologist in Lyon, France, wanted to find out whether children preparing for pediatric ambulatory surgery would do just as well if they had iPads to play with before an operation as with a routine pre-anesthesia sedative. The study authors divided participant families into two groups. Half of the children received the standard sedative treatment and the other half were given iPads so they could play with games and puzzles. Continue reading

Pediatricians Recast Screen Time Recommendations & Give Parents Online Planning Tools

Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents and teachers now have two simple and easy-to-use tools that can assist with developing a family’s media plan and estimating how family members can organize their time so that screen time is balanced with physical activity, reading, face-to-face connections, and homework.

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A screen shot of the two new media tools.

Every school administrator and every PTA group will want to  share the information about these digital planning devices in as many ways as possible. The new tools are available at the AAP’s HealthyChildren.org website.

The Academy has also refreshed its screen time recommendations for children of all ages, making needed updates to reflect the changing digital landscape as well as the many media activities in the lives of family members. Whether you agreed or vehemently disagreed with previous AAP screen and media guidelines, the professional society of children’s physicians deserves high praise for its ongoing efforts to address a media and digital landscape that dramatically affects the health and wellness of young people.

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Civility Is Now Devalued — So What Will Adults Do About It?

If there is ever a time to emphasize ideas on civility, commenting, fact-checking, and media literacy, it’s during an election. Children, preadolescents, and teens will learn much during the 2016 presidential campaign just from all the watching. (Read my post The Children are Watching and Seeing, Listening and Hearing.)

Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.

On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.

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Digital Kids’ Summer – Collaborative Projects & a Printable

** Please feel free to share this post with parents at your school
or parent group using this PDF. **

IMG_4257Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Summer 2016 is almost here. It’s a great time for family fun, outdoor activities, visiting museums and historical sites, and choosing from all sorts of camps and special programs. Problem is, many kids spend a lot of their summer vacation in front of screens, and it’s one of the hardest time of the year to focus on digital moderation.

With less frenetic schedules and no school, the summer months are a good time for parents to learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of kids’ 21st Century lives. So when school is out, plan to do some connected world exploring and learning together, concentrating on projects that can help family members — children and their parents — connect with interesting and meaningful work together. Everyone will figure out more about digital life and add some variety to the types of digital activities that they typically do.

Below are 10 family digital project summer suggestions — all activities require collaboration —  to consider for the upcoming summer vacation.

Ten Summer Digital Projects for Families                        Continue reading

Digital Devices & Parent-Teen Time Issues — New Research

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Click here to visit the Common Sense Media research page and sign in for a larger and higher quality image.

Check out the interesting new research just out from Common Sense Media about the issues and challenges when it comes to 21st Century digital kids and their mobile devices. The image depicts a range of statistics and device issues, collected via a poll of 1,200 parents and teens.

This infographic can be an excellent resource to use for family conversations about teens’ and children’s screen and digital device times (and adults’ times, too). It offers a range of information that can help parents discuss potential problems and concerns.

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Screenagers: An Excellent New Documentary & Digital Parenting Resource

Watch the official trailer below.

Watch the official trailer below.

I just finished reading a New York Times Well Blog article about Screenagers, a new documentary that addresses the 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.

The issue of parents designing and using contracts or agreements and how much they help parents and kids focus on important screen times issues, comes up in the article and in the documentary. You can check out a comprehensive list of sites that offer these types of contracts and agreements on MediaTechParenting.net. You can also read this blog’s digital parenting checklist.

View the Screenagers Official Trailer                                Continue reading