Posted in 21st Century Learning, blogging, digital learning, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology

You Can Start a Family Blog – Summer 2012

Visit Start a Family Blog and Get Started!

This summer think about starting a family blog. It’s a terrific communication project as well as a collaborative learning opportunity for everyone — kids, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Last year I taught a short online blogging course to parents at my school. My Start a Family Blog classhosted on a WordPress blog, is still available. The posts will guide interested families through the basics of starting a blog for relatives and friends.

Over at some novel ideas, a blog authored by librarian Stacy Nockowitz would be bloggers will find a comprehensive and rich list of resource links to help get started. She organizes her links into categories:

    • Blogging Basics
    • Blogging Resources
    • Blogs About Blogging
    • Blogging Platforms
    • Images

Also included at the bottom of the resource page is a cool glossary of blogging terms.

Posted in digital parenting, digital world conversations, parent child conversations, parent education, parents and technology

Digital Kids to Parents: Listen Up!

With more than 30 years as a teacher including over 20 in the educational technology field, I’ve heard many kids reflect thoughtfully, and not so thoughtfully, on their parents’ digital skills.

Here are the seven most common “I Wish” statements that I’ve heard expressed by children over the last 16 or 17 years. Two of them, I can report, my daughter also mentioned to me ages ago.

Kids wish their parents and other adults would:         Continue reading “Digital Kids to Parents: Listen Up!”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, commenting, conversations on commenting, cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology

Removing Racist and Hateful Comments: A Simple Relevancy Test

Click to hear Tyler’s dad reading a statement after the jury returned its verdict.

After the jury announced its verdict in New Jersey I watched Associated Press video statement read by Tyler Clementi’s father. Sad and clearly with a heavy heart, he nevertheless looked to the future in a way that most of us could not have done had we lost a child the way he lost Tyler. Then I glanced down at the YouTube comments — just about every one included a gay slur or offensive language, and I was disgusted. The comments were not relevant.

Racist and hateful online comments demean writers, video-makers, and people who thoughtfully share digital content. It’s becoming tiresome. Masquerading as run-of-the-mill responses at the end of articles and videos – they are actually cyber-bullies’ remarks left here and there with the goal of offending and hurting others. The time has long past for comment and blog editors everywhere  — but especially at Google’s YouTube — to set up and enforce guidelines.

I know that the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech; however, it’s not freedom of speech we are observing but the freedom to run off at the mouth and bully others in ways that are not relevant to the content. As a result we are teaching all sorts of silent lessons — the kind we don’t really intend to teach to young people as they grow up.

Continue reading “Removing Racist and Hateful Comments: A Simple Relevancy Test”

Posted in digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology, privacy

Think Before Taking Online Quizzes and Surveys

I have a big problem with online web surveys and quizzes aimed at kids. Many are tricky digital techniques using old-fashioned fun and emulating magazine quiz features of the past, but with a contemporary cyber-twist that encourages today’s web users — and many, many children — to happily divulge all sorts of personal information.

When you encounter a quiz or survey on a website, it’s a good time to chat with children about privacy and the methods that websites use to collect personal information. Remind them that no kid-friendly erasers are currently available to whisk things away once children provide information.

You may also want to visit the I Look Both Ways blog, where Linda Criddle has posted Online Quizzes and Surveys and the Real Risks These Represent. Linda’s post offers a comprehensive overview of the subject along with supplemental images.

Here’s a short excerpt — applicable for home and at school — from my November 2011 post at the Teaching Tolerance blog.

Continue reading “Think Before Taking Online Quizzes and Surveys”

Posted in digital parenting, parent education

Texting Dictionaries for Parents of Digital Kids

Do you sometimes wonder about the meaning of all those shortened words and acronyms that arrive in kids’ e-mails and text messages?

Check out the Texting Dictionary of Acronyms, published by C.G. Publishing in 2011. I purchased mine at a gift shop, but it’s available on the web. I’ve fun pulling it out of my purse or book bag when someone mentions one the lesser known shortened words that often arrive in text messages of people under twenty-five years old. And there’s even a family-friendly version.

You can also check out those unfamiliar words at NetLingo and at the Common Sense Media Digital Glossary.

Posted in cultural changes, digital learning, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology, writing for the web

Why I Blog for Media Tech Parenting

Made at

Over a year ago I started this blog, My aim was and is to organize, connect, and share resources on media, technology, and digital parenting — information that I encounter every day.

Over the course of a school year I often chat with adults about their digital kids. Most parents are enthusiastic, perhaps even astounded about the digital changes that occur every day in their lives. Yet, they also admit to feeling confused, worried, and even a bit befuddled. Often I find parents reflecting on how committed parents — who understand the importance of these digital changes — are supposed to keep track of the constantly changing digital landscape?

As a 22 year veteran in the educational technology world, I like to sift through articles, seek out references and discover resources that can help people — especially the parents of my students — understand more about the digital world. I read articles, watch videos, listen to stories, and keep an eye out for interesting research. It makes sense to share them on a blog. When I think about a post, I ask the question, “If I were a parent of a digital kid, what might I want to learn about?”

Continue reading “Why I Blog for Media Tech Parenting”

Posted in Back-to-school digital reading, digital parenting, online security, parent education, parents and technology

Filters: To Install or Not to Install? That is the Question! Back-to-School 2011 #1

It’s almost back-to-school season, I’ve just been asked for my opinion about home network filters, and I’ve answered the way I always do: protective software programs are fine but limited.

Yes, filters keep a certain amount of inappropriate content away from children, but the problem of access is not solved simply by protecting home computers and networks. Over the course of a day or week, a child encounters many other connections to the world wide web — on laptops, smartphones, iPads, computers, in other people’s homes, and maybe even at a parent’s office. Not to mention all of the inappropriate advertising…

Continue reading “Filters: To Install or Not to Install? That is the Question! Back-to-School 2011 #1”