These days we have so much debate about whether or not digital devices are decreasing our face-to-face communication and our quality of life.
If you are interested in this debate, check out a fascinating January 17, 2014 article in the New York Times Magazine. In Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart, writer Mark Oppenheimer describes how Rutgers University Professor Keith Hampton and his associates filmed the human interactions at Bryant Park — a New York City park just behind the New York Public Library— to discover how people interact in public spaces. In the process, researchers wanted to learn more about how today’s digital devices affect those interactions.
Professor Hampton based his work on the research of William H. Whyte, a sociologist who filmed people interacting in urban public spaces to learn more about their behavior and what they do. Whyte did his filming in the late 1960s and 1970s, calling it the Street Life Project. Studying the films, Whyte tried to discern what people liked to do, how they conversed, how long those conversations lasted and in what locations.
Parents report they are using a lot more social media — 66% of parents with children who use social media now use it themselves (compared with 58% in the 2011 survey).
One reason that parents are increasing their use of social media sites is to be able to facilitate ongoing family conversations about content.
Parents appear to worry more about advertisers who gather information about a child’s online activities than about a child’s possible contact with unfamiliar people.
Some teens whose parents are friends have learned how to restrict the information that parents see, but in general, they are positive about friending a parent.
Parents are increasingly aware of privacy policies — 44% have read a policy for a social media that one of their children uses and 39% told the survey that they are helping their children set up social media privacy settings.
Parents are concerned about a child’s online reputation, but the concerns are the highest as children get closer to applying to college.
Reputation management, when juxtaposed with the adolescent years, is tricky for teens.
Writer Christina DesMarais describes a study that identifies irritating digital world behaviors such as communicating at inappropriate times, sharing too much information, and highly negative commenting — all related to our increasing use of 21st Century social media.
This article is filled with digital world conversation starters that parents and teachers can use to begin discussions about ethics, privacy, and security.
If I had any doubt about the efficiency of the global economy, it was put to rest these past three days as I watched my new iPhone 4s traverse the world via Fed Ex, from Shenzhen, China to my front porch in northern Virginia, USA.
The iPhone began its journey on November 2nd, though allowing for time zones and the international date line, it was probably still November 1st where I live. Nevertheless, after it left China the package made intermediate stops in Hong Kong, Anchorage, Alaska, Memphis, Tennessee, and Dulles, VA, before being loaded onto the Fed Ex delivery truck in Alexandria, VA and arriving on my front porch in the early afternoon of November 4th. The package spent the most time standing still at the Fed Ex hub in Memphis, where packages accumulate all day and then fly out at night to destinations around the United States. Continue reading “The Global Economy, My New iPhone 4s, and Grandpa’s Voyage to America”→
If you find yourself thinking about the digital research activities of children, especially older students who complete significant amounts of their research using the unlimited resources available on the World Wide Web, you are not alone. Over the past 10 years I have wondered — more than once and sometimes with great angst — if my child and the many children I’ve known really understand the need to evaluate the resources that they find on the web.
Earlier this year I discovered a small book, published by the MacArthur Foundation, describing research that explored how children perceive the quality and reliability of digital media. It’s a book that concerned parents may want to read. In Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility, authors Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger, summarize their study as a “…comprehensive investigation into youth’s Internet use and their assessment of the credibility of online information.” The authors wondered whether young digital media users, while sophisticated and fearless about using technology, could evaluate information and determine its quality.
To learn more about young people and web credibility the researchers planned and executed a web-based survey of more than 2,000 children age 11 – 18. Study participants also completed a range of Internet tasks, evaluating information, making judgements about content, and explaining how and why they complete web tasks in certain ways. While there is far too much to cover in one blog post — check out the many interesting graphs in the publication — I’ve listed a few of the most interesting observations below. Continue reading “Kids and Web Resource Credibility”→
Parents need to be vigilant about the amount of sleep their children get each night. In fact everyone in a family needs to be aware that pre-bedtime gadget habits may decrease the quality of nighttime sleep.
Part of the problem is that people stare at very bright screens just before bed or go to bed with glowing screens surrounding them. Another issue is that people, including adolescents and teens, leave devices on at night while they are sleeping so phone calls and text messages often interrupt sleep. This is risky behavior for everyone, but especially for adolescents who need sleep to learn effectively and grow.
As the parent of a Brown University alum, I occasionally check the Brown Daily Herald, the engaging student newspaper that kept me connected during years when my child did not necessarily let me know what was happening. By reading the student newspaper I could find out who was speaking at the university, why certain important issues concerned Brown students, and what significant faculty research projects interested me. More importantly during that time, an amazing woman, academic superstar Ruth Simmons, Ph.D., assumed the presidency of the university, and from that moment on, there was never a dull moment, at least from my perspective, anywhere at Brown or in the Daily Herald.
This week I read with some interest a Brown Daily Heraldarticle about the visit of dana boyd (yes, she spells her name with no caps), a Brown alum (’00) who has established a reputation as an astute observer of the social networking culture and the issues that arise from so many of us using one or another of these virtual communication tools. Her research has focused especially on teens and social networking.