I love my iPhone and iPad, and I cannot do many things without them. For children under 13, however, use time should be carefully monitored by each family. Kids today are playing independently with powerful devices, and they — the devices and the children — are not intended to interact in isolation and for long periods without adult supervision.
Just today I asked a group of device-savvy fifth graders, most around age 10, if they know anything about SnapChat, the app that deletes pictures in one to ten seconds (leaving plenty of time for a recipient with poor judgment to take a screenshot and save the photo). Just about every hand went up. During a lesson a few months ago I asked them how many of them know how to make a screenshot — and they can all do it in a lot less than ten seconds. Read my SnapChat review here.
Take some time to read these thoughtful and well-written pieces that address the challenges of parenting digital kids and offer solid guidance. They sum up just about everything a parent needs to know.
Collier examines the need for parents to build insightful and trusting relationships with their digital world children. She notes that we adults should think carefully about any decision to use secretive monitoring and instead consider recognizing the need for honesty and trust whenever we address the lives of children and adolescents who work and play in the connected world.
There’s no substitute for a parent being online, observing and adding his or her two cents when required. Yes, it is time-consuming — but it’s best to communicate openly by transparently monitoring children’s digital activities and modeling the trust and honesty that we want them to develop in their own lives. Perhaps, Collier muses, we are even making digital kids safer, since they are less likely to be seeking ways to hide out or at least take cover online.
Take a look at a terrific letter about cell phone conduct, appropriately written for a middle or high school age student. In a Huffington Post article, To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love, Janet Burley Hoffman shares a mobile phone contract that she wrote for her son after giving him a cell phone for Christmas. The post also includes a link to a video of Hoffman and her son appearing on “Good Morning America.”
This piece is cleverly written, focusing on cell phone issues that worry many parents of pre-adolescent and adolescent children. Hoffman’s contract addresses, in non-lecture style, the concerns that arise especially as parents watch their children using digital devices.
After the December holidays, lots of digital kids are using new digital devices.
Each new digital gadget requires that parents update or introduce a family digital device action plan — akin to the rules-of-the-road that are so critical to new drivers.
These days flashy new smartphones, iPads, iPod Touches, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games are connected in some way to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet. Sometime during the first week of gadget ownership parents and children need to sit together and review digital behavior and expectations.
If ever there is a time to keep our media literacy skills front and center, it’s after a national disaster. Adults need to regulate and monitor what children see and, more importantly, adults need to remember that children see and hear a lot more than we sometimes think.
Many times each year parents and teachers ask me for examples of agreements and contracts that can help families focus on digital life expectations and limits-setting. Some individuals seek a pre-written document to use with their children, while others hope to design and write a document expressly for their families.
These agreements, contracts, or pledges, cover the gamut of 21st Century digital world behavior, from cell phones, to online access, to texting, web 2.0, social media, cyber-bullying, and digital citizenship.
The conversation and preparation that contribute to developing a family agreement or contract are often more important than the final document. In these family discussions, parents will need to arm themselves with information about digital natives, address values, and encourage common sense. Parents will also need to help their children think about what to do in unexpected situations, and encourage them to speculate on how to cope with friends who encourage them to misbehave. The more personal and relevant the agreement, the better.
Then, too, adults should understand that the preparation and writing process is not a one-way street. A child may make a pointed observation or come up with a thoughtful idea about the digital issues contained in the agreement. Perhaps he or she feels strongly about certain types of access, time limits, or other parental expectation. Maybe there are compelling reasons to grant access to one site or another, even though the parent has reservations.
As parents, children, and teachers prepare for the start of a new academic year, many may enjoy reading the Harvard Business Review blog (HBR Blog) post For Those Who Want to Lead, Read. Parents of digital kids may want to take the time to share this short, thoughtful. and well-written article with family members as a back-to-school activity.
In today’s digital world, many people — including individuals who consider themselves literate — are not reading books as often or as deeply as in the past. In this HBR Blog post, John Coleman notes that reading digital chunks of content is far more common today. He provides inspiring examples of leaders who are well-read and describes in detail how reading benefits individuals who aspire to lead. Plenty of links take readers back to the sources of information that are mentioned in the article.
Best Quotes (Choosing only two was really difficult.)
Even as global literacy rates are high (84%), people are reading less and less deeply.
… Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.
For Those Who Want to Lead, Read concludes with recommendations that can support people who want to read more. After you peruse these suggestions, take a few minutes to think about how you might encourage the people in your family (or your students) to develop and maintain a deeper and more literary reading life?