Effectively Guide Your Digital Kids-10 Tips for Grades 4-6 and Beyond

My design with images from the Apple website.

1.    Save Facebook, Google+, and other big time social networking experiences for high school.

2.    Know your child’s passwords.

3.    Keep online computer activities out of the bedroom. Also, plan on no-screen wind-down time during the last half hour before bed. (Yes, even those bedtime friendly Kindles – why not use bedtime-friendly books?)

4.    Set up an overnight charging area for cell phones and other gadgets outside of the bedroom, preferably on another floor or part of your home.

5.    Consider writing up digital device contracts and using these agreements with your child. Feel free to take away privileges, or even the device, if your expectations are not met.

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Still Think Google is Mostly a Search Engine?

The next time people in your family use Google to look for personal health information, they may be contributing to scientific research.

Google search data is beginning to be used to learn more about the flu. In fact, it’s beginning to look like Google Flu Trends (GFT), which keeps track of searches that inquire about influenza symptoms, may be faster and more effective than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surveillance network when it comes to predicting where the flu will become most prevalent. To learn more read this Google Flu Trends FAQ.

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Do You Know What Makes a Good Website? Does Your Child Know?

If the information in this post is helpful, you may also want to read my post Staying Ahead With Digital Research.

How can one determine whether or not a website is reliable?

Obviously if the website is part of  library resources, students and parents can usually be assured of its quality. However, when a child sits down at a personal home computer, makes a general search on a topic for a school assignment, and begins clicking through results, understanding the characteristics that make a website reliable is critical.

Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …
  • Is the site visually interesting with an organized layout?
  • Does it balance writing with helpful  illustrations?
  • Is the writer qualified to be writing on the subject?  How do you know?
  • Can you identify facts and information about your topic that you already know are accurate
  • Are the fonts simple, easy to read, and uncluttered?
  • Is the site updated on a regular basis?  How do you know?
  • Are there irritating pop-ups and/or other distractions. (However be aware that newspapers do have these pop-up windows.)
More Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …

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Staying Ahead With Solid Digital Research

September brings the start of a new school year, and once classes begin, it’s not long before the first research reports and projects are assigned. To get started, your child will head right to his or her computer; however, adult assistance can ensure that a student uses quality sources, thereby developing stronger research skills over the long run.

Just about any time digital children search for information at home, they fire up Google. While their teachers use substantial classroom time and energy introducing students to the best online research resources, children often need assistance applying the research lessons on their home computers. As often as possible adults should remind children that results from Google — as wonderful as Google searching is — provide a huge number of links, many of them of questionable quality.

A better way to search for information is to access library online resources and databases — the crown jewels of student research (Links at the bottom of this post will take readers to a few libraries that describe their virtual databases.) Searching in these databases decreases quantity and dramatically increases quality — which, in turn improves the caliber of a student’s assignment.

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