Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

handout image 2
Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in digital change, digital wellness, electronic personal assistant, kids and privacy, parents and technology, personal data, personal data security, privacy

Understanding Kids’ Echo Dot Privacy Controversy: Key Articles to Read

Echo Dot must have seemed like a really good idea, at least to some people, but then the privacy concerns surfaced.

Echo DotIt appears that Echo Dot records what children say, saves that personal information, and apparently, it’s still saved even after parents delete It. A group of child advocacy organizations has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FCC), and they are supported in a detailed letter from a bipartisan group of United States Senators. Amazon insists that they need to collect the recordings to improve the device.

Um, all our kids’ comments and ideas stored for posterity — I mean Amazon? Growing kids say lots of things that they quickly realize they shouldn’t have said. Ask any teacher. Those archived recordings may contain comments that most parents did not even know their kids say. Just imagine the out-of-this-world corporate data trove provided by all those children. Whatever happened to COPPA?

Below are a few articles to help adults learn more about the kids’ personal assistant privacy issue and how it may affect children.  Continue reading “Understanding Kids’ Echo Dot Privacy Controversy: Key Articles to Read”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, collaboration, device-free times, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital parenting, digital wellness, parents and technology, tech free time

Collaborative Family Digital Activities For Summer 2017

Summer 2017 is here, and as we enjoy family fun, outdoor activities, trips to museums and historical sites, vacations, and all sorts of camps and special programs, it’s also important to discover activities that will help 21st Century children use screen time creatively and wisely.

So with less frenetic schedules and no school, use the summer months to collaborate — that’s parents and kids doing things together. Adults can learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of young people’s 21st Century lives, and kids can engage in meaningful, creative, and interesting projects — and even have fun working with their parents. The pay-off? Everyone will figure out more about digital life and add variety to the types of digital activities that they typically do.

Below are 12 family digital project summer suggestions — all work best if people work together —  to consider for summer 2017.

Twelve Summer Digital Projects for Families                        Continue reading “Collaborative Family Digital Activities For Summer 2017”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, cell phones, digital devices, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, digital wellness, digital-device-free times, first mobile phone, getting a first device, getting started with a kid’s new device, parents and technology

An Amusing but Pointed Welcome Poem for Kids With New Digital Devices

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Click here to read my second poem about kids’ advice to parents.

Since it’s National Poetry Month, I decided to write a few amusing verses about digital kids and the connected world. You are welcome to attach this poem, with attribution, to any new device that a member of your family receives. Enjoy!

An Amusing but Pointed Welcome Poem PDF

Congrats on acquiring a new mobile device,
Have fun working and playing, but here’s some advice.
With your friends or relations who, like you, love the web
You’ll connect with so much, you’ll feel like a celeb!

But remember! When you work, play, or hangout online,
You must understand when you need to decline.
Kids often forget while using devices
That it’s easy to get caught in another kid’s vices.

It’s great fun to partake of apps, websites, and more,
Because you and your friends mostly do know the score.
You’re connected, you’re sharing – and that’s really great!
But please know that you’ll make more than one big mistake.                        Continue reading “An Amusing but Pointed Welcome Poem for Kids With New Digital Devices”

Posted in 21st Century life, device-free times, digital devices and gadgets, digital health and wellness, digital wellness, modeling for kids, moderation, parents and technology

Without Moderation & Mindfulness Tech Can Diminish Our Personal Lives

Does too much technology, with our smartphones especially,os7iphone-2 interfere with the quality and the personal connections in our lives? Do we concentrate less because of the unceasing demands of our digital devices?

I’ve just finished reading Jonathon Safran Foer’s December 2016 article, Technology is Diminishing Us, and he makes thoughtful points about how, despite the good things that 21st Century digital devices bring to our lives, they can also diminish our daily emotional responses and contemplative experiences. The author reflects, with a personal emphasis, on digital distractions that increasingly disrupt of face-to-face communication, and his ideas connect well with the conclusions that Massachusetts Institution of Technology professor Sherry Turkle shares in her books Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversations, also well worth reading.

Foer, whose essay appeared in The Guardian, notes that early on technological innovations aimed to help people more easily accomplish daily life tasks — telephones replaced letters, answering machines supplemented phone calls, email made communication even easier and texting easier still. Each change or invention sought to help people communicate more efficiently and effectively (in theory). Yet all this ease of use comes with caveats. The devices that connect us to others almost all of the time and to unlimited information whenever we seek it, have become electronic busybodies, obsessively notifying, alerting, locating, and suggesting (even when we try to turn many of the features off) as we attempt to concentrate, interact with others, and get things done. Most of us do little to stop these interruptions.                       Continue reading “Without Moderation & Mindfulness Tech Can Diminish Our Personal Lives”

Posted in 21st Century life, cell phones, charging digital devices, digital devices, digital devices and sleep, digital wellness, parents and technology, sleeping with digital devices

Sleeping Without a Mobile Device Nearby — My Discoveries

bedsideGoing to sleep has sometimes been challenging because have a difficult time relaxing and settling down. My iPhone was complicating bedtime and probably my sleep. So about a month ago, a few weeks before New Year 2017, I separated my iPhone from my bedside, charging it about 20 feet away in a smaller room. I keep a book where my iPhone used to charge and read at least a few pages before bed.

The results after just four weeks have been remarkable. I go to sleep more easily and stay asleep because I am not awakened by dings or the phone suddenly lighting up. I don’t even get up as often in the middle of the night, and at least a few times I’ve slept straight through for five or more hours. According to my Fitbit, my restless periods have decreased by half on most nights, though that took a couple of weeks to occur. Also, I’ve finally stopped glancing in the direction of the iPhone, because it’s not there! Continue reading “Sleeping Without a Mobile Device Nearby — My Discoveries”

Posted in 21st Century life, connected learning, digital learning, digital wellness, educating digital natives, parents and technology

10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

Will new devices, robots and other items that connect to the Internet with your wifi be arriving in your home during this 2016 holiday season? If so, check out this post about maintaining digital wellness in your family.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

Digital WellnessThese days everyone talks about personal wellness — those steps that people need to take to remain physically and mentally healthy and strong. But what about digital wellness? Poor digital health affects not only our connected lives, but also our physical and mental well-being.

Digital wellness is about fine-tuning the 21st Century skills that we use to work and play in a connected world, and it also involves understanding number of common myths about the nature of online life. Helping family members take steps to develop digital wellness habits can challenge parents, mainly because many children, pre-adolescents, and teens appear to be far more advanced online consumers than their parents. Underneath the veneer of digital native expertise, however, are a fair number of information gaps.             

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