Posted in digital kids, parent child conversations, parent education, parental control apps, parents and technology

No Surprise that Kids Figure Out Parental Controls

parental controls
Happy Halloween 2019!

No, I was not surprised to read that kids figure out how to how to get around the Apple iPhone parental controls. The Washington Post published an October 15, 2019 article that tells all about it, and in my experience, the kids’ actions are not limited to Apple parental controls.

Continue reading “No Surprise that Kids Figure Out Parental Controls”

Posted in 21st century job hunting, 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital footprints, digital life, parents and technology, social media

Can You Have an Online Presence & Still Have Some Online Privacy?

Privacy spiralHow do you develop a solid online presence while simultaneously having the ability to enjoy a social media account with friends and maybe even be a little goofy? It is possible, but organizing one’s digital footprints takes organization and attention.

This issue is of paramount importance for people who will be applying for school or jobs in today’s digital world.

To learn more about managing life in the social media world check out an informative New York Times article that describes how a 21st Century individual goes about balancing privacy with a necessary public online presence. Many people worry about how much to share in the digital world and how to separate personal and professional personas. The article, Build an Online Presence Without Giving Up Privacy, explains how a person can go about doing it. Continue reading “Can You Have an Online Presence & Still Have Some Online Privacy?”

Posted in 21st Century life, extremism, hate group recruiting, hate groups on the web, hateful comments, parents and technology

Yes, White Supremacists Do Attempt to Recruit Kids Online

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few taps on the keyboard.Hate groups and their members have been around for a long time, but the connected world has amplified their insidious messages for people of all ages. A sizeable percentage of the online messages from these groups are aimed at middle and high school children.

Recently an article, ‘Listen up.’ How White Supremacists are Recruiting Boys Online, appeared in the September 17, 2019 Washington Post and described in some detail how extremist groups are attempting to recruit adolescents.

Over the years, I’ve shared my excitement about computers, the Internet, the web, and eventually social media with people of all ages, and I continue to believe in the power of technology and learning. Yet, on a regular basis, a small interior voice of discomfort warned me again and again about extremists’ digital activities. Articles appearing on one of my news feeds would catch my attention, or occasionally a middle or high school student or a parent would comment about hateful comments seen online. Once a colleague shared an article that described how hate groups recruit kids with cool music. Continue reading “Yes, White Supremacists Do Attempt to Recruit Kids Online”

Posted in 21st Century life, cell phones, mobile phones, parents and technology, spam phone calls

Phone Calls Are Becoming Intimidating

The other day I was sitting in a group talking about mobile phone calls.

Marti calling Marti2
Marti was calling Marti — very weird!

Every single person expressed frustration about the number of fraudulent phone calls that ring up on any given day. While the phone companies, AT&T for instance, now identifies possible spam calls, there are still far more calls that are not identified.

This a frustrating 21st Century problem and just about everyone in the conversation had the same strategy.  No one answers the phone unless the number is recognized or the caller is in contacts and thereby identified by name. Everyone assumes that a legitimate caller will leave a message. Continue reading “Phone Calls Are Becoming Intimidating”

Posted in parents and technology

Why I’ve Gone Back to Paying for My Email

After six or seven years of using a free email account, I decided to switch to one that I pay for, one that does not share my data or track what I do.

blank gmail
My Old Email

I made the decision after I looked at my Google purchase list that goes back for years. These notations include hotels, restaurants, transportation tickets, clothes, books and just about everything else that I bought online. Looking over the list, I observed that it was pretty easy to monitor the past few years of my life just by looking through my purchases. I had no privacy.

One of my friends said it best when he commented, “When something is free, you and your data are the product.” So that is when I decided to switch. I do not want to be the product. I am tired of serving as the product.

I looked at half-a-dozen different programs, all of which emphasize privacy and freedom from tracking, and I chose one that several people I know have used. Then I got out my credit card, paid for a year and — wonder of wonders — the charge did not show up on Google Purchases.

Since then I’ve spent time moving things over to my new email system. This includes just about everything that asks me to sign up with my email address and probably anything that relates to business.

I’m pleased!

Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

handout image 2
Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in data collecting, data sharing, digital life, online tracking, parents and technology

Do You Really Understand How Much You Are Tracked in Your Web Activities?

When we use Chrome, Google’s tracking cookies follow us everywhere, and the video below perfectly illustrates how these trackers operate in our digital lives. It was produced by Washington Post technology columnists, Geoffrey A. Fowler and James Pace-Cornsilk.

Enjoy watching, but also ask yourself how much of your personal data and your daily activities you want to share with these trackers? Moreover, how much of your children’s data do you want these cookies to collect? In a connected world, digital life is complicated as is personal privacy.

This video appears in a Post article, Google’s Data Collection Drives Some Consumers Away, by Greg Bensinger.

FYI, I have stopped using Chrome completely (I use Duck Duck Go as a browser), and I am migrating to an email that I pay a small fee for each month.  To learn more about what I use you may want to read two past MediaTech Parenting posts.