Many Tech Executives Are Low Tech Parents

iPad MelangeWhen a new iPhone, iPad, Android, extra cool website, or app debuts, many of us, right along with our kids, can’t wait to indulge. One only has to observe homes, schools, shopping malls, athletic events, or even carpool lines (both parents and kids) to see the extent of our devotion to digital devices — sometimes in lieu of face-to-face interaction.

So what surprised me about a New York Times article Steve Jobs Was a Low Tech Parent was that at the height of the early iPad onslaught, Steve Jobs did not give one to his kids. The September 10, 2014 article, by technology reporter Nick Bilton, points out that Jobs was not alone. Many tech executives, it turns out, are conservative about the amount of time their children have access to digital activities and gadgets. Many of these digital world leaders, Bilton writes,: “…strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.”  Others, the reporter points out, don’t even let their children have social media accounts.                    Continue reading

Some Time Out From Digital Devices?

In Google’s Eric Schmidt and the Curse of Constant Connection, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus reports on the Google executive’s commencement address at Boston University (BU). In her May 22, 2012 column Marcus describe how Schmidt made the case for a bit of balance — urging new graduates (even as they stayed connected during the graduation ceremony) to take an hour or so each day away from the digital devices that keep us so connected.

The full text of Schmidt’s speech is on the BU website, and it’s a good read for digital age parents who are seeking ways to schedule a bit more disconnected time with family and friends.

To learn more about the search for digital device moderation I recommend the book Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Author William Powers explores how people who lead connected lives (he does) need to find the time for reflection and interaction away from screens. And he describes how his family want about setting some time to be together and disconnected.

Best Quote from Powers’ Book

If we’ve learned anything in the last decade about technology and human interaction, it’s that as screen time rises, direct human-to-human interaction falls off proportionally.

Screen Free Week — for Schools, Churches, and Families

Take the Screen Free Week Challenge!

Every year the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sponsors Screen Free Week. 

The April 30-May 6, 2012 week-long activity, which for years was a turn-off-the-TV event, aims to encourage children and their families (and yes, adults with their digital devices), to be less dependent on activities in front of screens, encouraging all of us to consider other types of activities such as reading, playing outside, board games and exercise.

The point of Screen-Free Week is not to forget about digital activities, stop doing homework, and ignore the work that needs to be accomplished each day. Rather it’s a time to think carefully about the digital screen logjam in our lives and consider just how much time we are spending in front of  TV, computers, iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, and other gadgets — and whether some of that time is better used for other things.

Just about everyone needs to come up with strategies to balance screen time activities with the rest of our lives, perhaps adding a bit more variation and creativity to our daily endeavors. But the week can also be a time to think about the quality of life. We should be asking ourselves, “How can we use our devices to learn and collaborate more, and are there ways they might help us grown into more productive citizens?”

The organization’s website describes the week as a celebration. Continue reading

9 Family Digital Citizenship Tips: Back-to-School Reading #5

The beginning of a school year is a good time for families to set limits, explain rules, and in general, clarify expectations about technology use. Getting started in the fall, when everyone is off to a new grade and a fresh beginning, encourages healthy tech habits.

Depending on the age of your children, you may want to accomplish some or even all of the tasks on this list, encouraging everyone to think responsibly and become committed digital citizens.

Nine Back-to-School Technology Tasks

1. Place computers in central, well-traveled locations — away from bedrooms and private spaces.

2. Be sure adults, not children, are administrators on the computers and devices in your  home — including laptops and other digital devices.

3. Print and post rules and expectations next to each computer. Specify the times when you do not want your children using computers. Emphasize that your family rules are in effect when children go to a friend’s house. Share my digital citizenship poem that highlights issues to consider. Continue reading

7 Constructive Comments: Digital Kids to Parents

With more than 30 years in teaching including more than 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 my daughter expressed directly to me.

Kids wish … Continue reading

Keeping Track? Adolescents in the Digital Age

I’ve been keeping Dr. Gwen Schurgin-Okeeffe’s (AKA Dr. Gwenn) book close by for several months now. Cybersafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media is chock-full of helpful information and advice, juxtaposing the need to empower as well as protect today’s children in the always-expanding virtual world where they live. I’ve read the entire book, and I highly recommend CyberSafe to a people who are planning school book fairs and searching for a book that addresses technology and parenting. For parents who are seeking a broad overview of digital age parenting, CyberSafe, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is the current best bet.

This week Dr. Schurgin’s book is juxtaposed in my mind with the December 5, 2010 New York Times article, As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up. The piece, by reporter Jan Hoffman, focuses on what parents are doing – and not doing – to make the digital world, and especially potential cyber-bullying, less treacherous for their children. My technology colleague, Bruce, sent me what he felt were the most important thoughts in the New York Times article. I’ve posted these quotes below. Continue reading

Nine Back-to-School Technology Tasks

From ClipArt for Free.blogspot.com

The beginning of a school year is a good time for families to set limits, explain rules, and in general, clarify expectations about technology use. Getting started in the fall, when everyone is off to a new grade and a fresh beginning, encourages healthy technology habits.

Depending on the age of your children, you may want to accomplish some or even all of the tasks on this list, encouraging everyone to think responsibly and become committed digital citizens.

Nine Back-to-School Technology Tasks

Continue reading