In our connected world unfamiliar activities make adults worry about kids, and violent and exploitative events, some connected to the digital world, make us fear for our children’s safety. This past week two events, a 13-year-old’s ruthless murder that was associated with online app interactions and a Wall Street Journal article, Cyberthieves Have a New Target: Children, made many of us wonder, once again, whether the digital world is degrading the quality of our lives.
The New York Times recently published For the New Year, Let’s Resolve to Improve Our Tech Literacy, about the need for leaders, law enforcement officials and policymakers to increase their digital world literacy. The December 23, 2015 article, written by Farhad Manjoo, points out that many the big problems that occur in our world become even more complicated because the leaders and law enforcement personnel do not have a big-picture understanding of the vast changes technology brings to today’s world. Greater understanding might strengthen our leaders’ problem-solving skills.
This article looks at the importance of digital literacy on a large-scale.
As I finished reading, I began thinking about resolutions on a smaller scale — those steps that adults and children can take in 2016 to improve a family’s tech literacy and perhaps prevent at least some of the potential connected-world problems. It’s a fast-paced, always-changing 21st Century world and everyone has a lot to learn. Many of the issues that do occur are made worse because kids and parents do not have enough knowledge to anticipate what might go wrong and take steps to steer clear of problems.
This past week I listened to New Research On Teens, Toddlers and Mobile Devices, an engaging radio program about digital parenting on The Diane Rehm Show (NPR). In early November 2015 Rehm featured four expert guests who thoughtfully examined the digital parenting issues that adults should consider when it comes to digital media and children. It was rebroadcast in December 2015.
A new year—with new devices and new considerations about rules and limitation—is a good time to listen to experts who can help adults think more carefully about how to define screen time and discuss the research (and the need for much more). This program can help adults guide children whose 21st Century lives are increasingly defined by digital activities. Continue reading “What to Do About Screen Time – A Diane Rehm Show Discussion”→
Each year I write a back-to-school post, that challenges parents and educators to think about the ever-changing lives we live as parents and teachers in our increasingly digital world. This year my 2015 post, A Back-to-School Digital Parenting Checklist, received quite a few hits.
If you are an educator or parent searching for just the right comments about digital parenting to use at a school, organization, or parent meeting, take a look at the blog post A Booster Shot on Parents’ Night by Ann Klotz over at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Klotz, the head of the Laurel School outside of Cleveland, hits the nail on the head, using a healthy child metaphor to describe the important responsibilities — digital and otherwise — for the parents of digital kids. Adults, she points out, must take on these responsibilities no matter how they feel about technology (or even how much more a parent thinks a child knows about technology). Below is one paragraph from Klotz’s post, but I suggest that you read the entire post.
It’s back-to-school 2015, a time to list the many tasks we need to accomplish before the start of the new academic year. We think about school supplies, new clothes and shoes, new lunch boxes, and, of course, new digital devices and computers. We check off our lists as we go, getting our 21st Century children ready to return to school.
Yet back-to-school season is also a useful time for parents to list, consider, and articulate connected-life expectations, old and new, for the coming year. What do you want your children to do or not do? How do you expect them to behave when a friend encourages behavior that is not allowed at home?
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health conducts regular surveys several times each year polling adults in around 2000 randomly selected, nationally representative households, about significant health issues that relate to children. The goal of this survey and others in the C.S. Mott program is to collect information and identify trends that are useful to health providers, community public health organizations, and public policymakers.
This year, 2015, parents rated internet safety as the fourth most important health problem for children, moving from eighth place in 2014. Sexting, which was in 13th place in 2014, was rated as the sixth greatest health concern for children in the 2015 survey.