Posted in 21st Century Learning, choosing reliable resources, digital photography, evaluating web site resources, healthy media images, parents and technology, social media

7 Questions to Ask Before Sharing Hurricane Sandy Media With Kids

The Pier Before the Storm
Photo by Marti Weston, 2008

Parents and teachers of digital kids should make it a habit to evaluate media for authenticity and reliability rather than automatically sharing dramatic images with children. Evaluating media is a critical 21st Century skill — for adults and children

The other day a friend sent me a link to a storm picture. The image featured a familiar ocean pier with huge waves about to crash onto its farthest end. (The photo at left is the pier long before the storm). While the drama of the image intrigued me, on reflection I was bothered because I could not learn anything about the website that hosted the image. Other than labeling the town and the storm, the photograph offered no other identifying narrative.

With its ethereal quality, the image looked as if the pier was superimposed over a dramatic ocean scene — the waves and spray crashing at one end while the rest of the structure was clear without any water or spray obstructions. Moreover, since I was familiar with the location, I could not figure out where the photographer stood to take the picture. Perhaps I was wrong, but since I could not discover anything more about the picture, I decided not to send it to anyone else, and I am not even posting it here.

When a huge emergency like Hurricane Sandy occurs, digital pictures and videos circulate all over the web and via social media. A fair amount of these digital materials misrepresent the situation. To avoid focusing too much on the misrepresentations we need to apply some 21st Century common sense. Continue reading “7 Questions to Ask Before Sharing Hurricane Sandy Media With Kids”

Posted in digital parenting, healthy media images, media literacy, parents and technology, technology support

Location, Location, Location (Services, that is…)

A tech-savvy middle school parent sent me the link to the video at the end of this post. She added a comment: “This is scary. Should I let it upset me?” As of mid-April 2011, according to YouTube, the video has been viewed nearly 2.8 million times

There is nothing quite like the queasy feeling a parent gets when a media outlet airs a story with shrill content that aims to frighten and questions the safety of their children. In this case, the report included a solution at the end of the news segment, but by then many viewers were probably too upset to focus. YouTube makes it all so easy, and we can view the segment again and again and then pass it on to others. If each of us had more media literacy skill, we’d hit the stop button, move on to something else, and not even think about forwarding it to our friends.

Specifically, this video addresses two concepts: geotagging and location services on smartphones. Setting aside the anxiety about the information revealed by digital pictures, the video highlights a critical digital-age dilemma for parents: how to develop basic knowledge about the digital devices that they purchase for their children. Location service happens to be the current concern, but by the time the next round of must-have gadgets arrives on the scene, another issue will emerge. Knowledge is power.

Continue reading “Location, Location, Location (Services, that is…)”

Posted in family conversations, healthy media images, media literacy, parent child conversations, parent education, resources to read, risky behavior

Conversations About Skins from Common Sense Media

As usual, Common Sense Media is right on top of the latest media/television family dilemma, and the website has published a short piece to help parents talk with their teenage children about the MTV program, Skins. In Tough Talk: How Parents Can Use MTV’S Skins As a Jumping Off Point, Liz Perle writes, “MTV’s teen drama Skins (a remake of the even edgier British series) showcases every behavior that keeps parents of teenagers up at night.” Perle suggests conversation pointers that can help parents begin conversations on these all too nerve-wracking topics. While these subjects keep parents in a perpetual state of jitters, teenagers confront many of the issues the issues on a daily basis — though honestly the show itself seems overly contrived. Check out the article.

The point is – and this is a Common Sense Media mantra (about page) — no matter how uncomfortable the topic may be, the most important thing is to work hard to keep the dialogue going throughout the challenging teenage years. The conversations, even if they don’t go as smoothly as a parent wishes, nevertheless help adolescent kids think about making better choices.

Posted in healthy media images, media literacy, parent education, parents and technology, technology and health problems, teens and technology

Pediatricians’ Policy Statement on Media Education – September 2010

Listen to these docs!

The September 27, 2010 edition of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), includes an updated policy statement on media education. Full text is available, as the journal and its editors appear committed to providing easy access to articles on media and other topics that may be of interest to parents and educators.

The updated policy statement, written by media education advocate and lead author Victor Strasburger, M.D.,together with a veritable who’s who of like-minded pediatricians, addresses the health concern that arise when children are over-exposed to media. Easy-to-read and jammed-packed with information, the document provides an overview of physician concerns about the media literacy of their young patients. With 93 footnotes, the policy statement also connects readers with pertinent scientific research so that readers, if they choose, can search for research abstracts about media education and children’s health (check PubMed for the abstracts).

The policy statement addresses the following topics — all of considerable interest to families with children — and includes recommendation to pass on to parents: Continue reading “Pediatricians’ Policy Statement on Media Education – September 2010”

Posted in answers to media questions, digital parenting, healthy media images, media literacy, parents and technology

Watch What You Watch – New Media PSA for Girls

A couple of weeks ago a group of media literacy advocates gathered in the Washington, DC area for the Healthy Media for Youth Summit, focusing on the importance of media literacy and the need to address negative female media images. According to a press release, the group  “…considered and identified ways to promote media messages that inspire, empower, and engage youth.”  Attendees watched the premier of this amazing and engaging public service video announcement.

After you watch the video, pass on the link to parents and teachers who will share it with young people. Any parent with a daughter moving into middle school and adolescence knows how frustrating it is to watch a child interact with unhealthy media images in magazines, movies, television shows, and now spread all over the World Wide Web. Parents of boys have similar concerns, though this particular PSA is aimed at young women and girls.

Continue reading “Watch What You Watch – New Media PSA for Girls”