Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, connected world problems, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, parents and technology, social media

Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 9.54.10 PMDo you find yourself nervous and at wits end about all the problems with social media and kids? Do you dread hearing the next news report about kids, screens, and digital addiction because it feels too close to home? Are you regularly worried about the intensity of your own digital activities?

Few people will argue with the notion that our digital world needs tweaking. With data collecting running amock, hackers breaking into corporations around the world, bad actors using social media for espionage, parents’ worrying about screen time, and our personal privacy and information challenged day in and day out, people tend to panic about their kids and themselves. But panic is nothing new. Continue reading “Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, anonymity, choosing reliable resources, civility, connected learning, conversations on commenting, data collecting, digital citizenship, digital life, digital parenting strategies, fact-checking, information credibility, misinformation, NewseumEd, parents and technology, personal information, privacy

5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations

Parents often ask for suggestions about the steps they can take to help their children develop stronger and more robust digital world skills. I often suggest that families use the time spent eating together at the dinner table to bring up and consider connected world topics. Most adults will recall that, as they grew up, dinner table conversations were a time when family members learned together, chatting about critical issues and challenges in the world, Today’s family mealtimes are just as important. Below are five topics that can encourage learning, lively discussion and improved decision making, all while eating a meal together.

dinnter conv topicsPersonal Information
Begin a discussion about the collection of personal information in the digital world. Share ideas about what comprises an individual’s personal information — considering what can be public and what should not. Why is it important to think about protecting personal information? The MediaTechParenting blog posts below to help get the conversation started.   Continue reading “5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations”

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 Learning, digital life, evaluating web site resources, media literacy, misinformation, vaccines

Ethan Lindenberger’s Senate Testimony: It’s About Evidence & Source Evaluation

Ethan Lindenberger grew up in an anti-vaccine (anti-vax) family, surrounded by misinformation, but at age 18 he decided to get his vaccinations despite his parents’ protests. He testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on March 5, 2019, describing how anti-vax misinformation affected his life.

Ethan explained that as he grew older and learned to evaluate information, he began to understand and look for evidence-based information. He also told the Senators how social media had helped spread anti-vax materials.     Continue reading “Ethan Lindenberger’s Senate Testimony: It’s About Evidence & Source Evaluation”

Posted in 21st Century life, advertising, data collecting, digital life, online tracking, privacy

How I Try to Maintain Privacy (or at Least Some) in My Digital World

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 9.30.32 PM

Today a person’s personal information is a commodity, and privacy is a struggle to maintain. I want to stop (or at least slow down) Facebook, Google and all their advertisers (not to mention Cambridge Analytica) from vacuuming up my information.

Of course I’ve turned on the privacy controls on all my accounts and apps, and I recheck them on a regular basis, but that’s only one small part of the personal privacy picture. Below are 14 more steps that I take to ensure that at least some of my personal information is less available.               Continue reading “How I Try to Maintain Privacy (or at Least Some) in My Digital World”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and exercise, digital life, mobile phones, modeling for kids, parents and technology

Exercise & Phones — Why Do People Do It?

IMG_8335There are times when cell phones should be put away.  Shouldn’t exercise time be one of those times?

I walk several miles almost every day, sometimes outside and sometimes in, and no matter where I am, I observe lots of people talking on the phone while they move. They may be walking, pushing strollers, on treadmills, or various elliptical trainers or on the street or jogging path — but there they are talking on mobile devices.

The last time I went to the track — my goal that day was to walk three miles —  I observed an individual on the phone while pushing a stroller with a wide-awake baby. For as long as I was watching — and I looped the person and the stroller many times on the track —  there was no interaction with the child. Moreover, her slowness, trudging and talking in the middle of the track lanes —  was an issue with many other exercisers, who needed to give her wide berth every time they approached the stroller.
Continue reading “Exercise & Phones — Why Do People Do It?”