Posted in digital kids, parents and technology, privacy, social media, social networking

Teens, Social Media and Privacy — From Pew Internet

Teen Sharing Facebook PewData from a joint Pew Internet and Harvard Berkman Center research report, Teens, Social Media and Privacy, identify a discrepancy between the ways teens and adolescents preserve their privacy and their lack of concern about the invasive collection of personal information by third parties.

The May 21, 2013 report also points out that while teens are increasing the amount of sharing they do on social media, many adolescents are tiring of Facebook because so many adults use the site and because of the excessive sharing that Facebook seems to prod people to do. The researchers gathered much their Facebook data through focus groups. Continue reading “Teens, Social Media and Privacy — From Pew Internet”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, connected learning, digital devices, digital parenting, frightening events, social media, too much media?

When Digital and Social Media Combine With Crisis

Moderation. Even with the best intentions, the decisions we make each day about what to do and how to live become more complex as our digital lives expand. Yet making choices about when and how long to stay connected could not be more important for us, and during times when a tragedy grips the country or the world, our connection choices become even more important.

moderationNow I spend considerable time on my blogs and at my job encouraging parents, kids, and teachers to embrace digital life while also choosing to pursue plenty of offline activities. Making choices about what to do and not to do is especially critical when children live in the house, but all of us should pay attention to the length of time we spend in the digital world.

Choosing does not necessarily mean avoiding long periods of connected time if we are learning or accomplishing something significant (and yes, a game can count). Good choices, however, keep us from wasting time and from missing valuable face-to-face interactions.

I am usually pretty good at moderating my time online — at least I was until the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon. After that tragic event, and for the ensuing six days I’ve not been able to disconnect myself for very long. My husband is a lifelong runner who loves the Marathon, though he’s never run it, but two friends were in this race, so we immediately tried to find more information about them. Moreover, my daughter works at one of the teaching hospitals in Boston.

Digital Mod

So all week-long I could not disconnect from the digital coverage. I checked three newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times, Boston.com) several times a day, added a slew of new Twitter feeds (#BostonMarathon #Marathon #CambridgePolice @Boston_Police, #Boston), and used Public Radio apps on my phone and iPad to listen to Boston radio programs, especially WBUR. (Note: One of my middle school students, a confident 21st Century learner, asked me why I wasn’t using the Public Radio app to listen everywhere I went.) Every day this week I’ve made a final iPhone news check just before going to bed and grabbed my mobile again as soon as I have awakened. I even listened during exercise.

Continue reading “When Digital and Social Media Combine With Crisis”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, NAIS Conference Reports, parents and technology, social media, social media friends

Learning Lots More About Topics I Know Lots About: My NAIS 2013 Conference #1

You are in a good workshop when it’s on a topic that you know well, and you end up learning a whole lot more, and when you feel new knowledge pathways opening up, you say “Wow!”  That’s what happened to me on Friday morning at the 2013 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference, this year in Philadelphia.

I attended a workshop, “It’s Just Facebook: Ethical Questions in Social Media Use,” and discovered first-hand how much I can still learn about educating children, their parents, and educators when it comes to 21st Century digital citizenship and media literacy problem-solving. What’s  especially interesting to me since, just the day before, I presented a workshop with three of my NAIS colleagues on a similar topic.

Ethics institute
Check out the Ethics Institute teacher workshops.

In their “Ethical Questions” workshop, Kent Place School presenters Kimberly Coelho and Karen Rezach helped us compare moral with ethical dilemmas sharing case studies that are designed to help students examine and address the life challenges that pop up in their 21st Century learning and digital lives.

The two leaders, part of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place, walked us through the discussion process, emphasizing how they  include a range of different perspectives. Often right and wrong answers are not so clear because the dilemmas usually present competing values, so the problems are not examined or solved easily.

Continue reading “Learning Lots More About Topics I Know Lots About: My NAIS 2013 Conference #1”

Posted in communicating with grandparents, digital learning, digital literacy, parents and technology, social media, social networking, technology changes

Senior Family Members Expand Social Media Access – With Kids’ Help

Those of us with seniors and elders in our families know how important it is, in this digital age, to ensure that children communicate with grandparents, older relatives, and even elder family friends.

In many families, grandparents and other senior relatives benefit and gain more technology skill with the help of their digital-age grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Once a family senior gets immersed in intergenerational digital communication, he or she often wants even more connections — at first more contact with younger family members and then with … the world.

pew-internet-aging-social-networkingInterestingly, only a few years ago most seniors were satisfied with e-mail communication or the occasional video to watch. Not anymore. Today a growing number of people over 65 are enthusiastically latching on to social networking sites and using them on a fairly regular basis, and these numbers are growing.

This amazing graph depicts the percentage of adults at various ages who used social media sites over seven years, and it demonstrates how fast the use of these sites is increasing for all age groups, but especially for seniors.

Published in the Pew Internet’s July 2012 report on Older Adults and Internet Use, the information in the image comes from a Pew survey that collected data between March 2005 and February 2012.

Note the growth for the 50-64 age group and the over 65 age group (data that could hardly be detected back in 2005) over the years of the survey. Moreover, the social networking adoption percentage numbers for people 50 and older picked up a lot of steam, between July and November 2008.

Bottom line? Many more older adults are signing up and using social media sites, and their numbers are continuing to increase. One way that young family members can be especially helpful is to be on the lookout for seniors relatives who can use extra support as they learn more about living lives in the digital world.

The French essayist Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) wrote, “To teach is to learn twice.” Children relearn and review their own digital world lessons when they teach senior family members about learning and communicating in today’s always connected world. It doesn’t matter whether they are helping with privacy issues, teaching a senior to understand a cell phone, or demonstrating the many other virtual world tasks that a grandparent or elder relative might need to know. In helping that older family member learn something new, the child refocuses on the lesson.

That’s pretty cool for everyone involved.

Posted in digital learning, digital parenting, digital world conversations, interesting research, parents and technology, research on the web, social media, social networking

Parents Use More Social Media – Often to Ensure Children’s Security

pew parents teen social media responses
Graph from Pew Internet Teens and Privacy report

In November the Pew Center on Internet and American Life together with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society published a new survey, Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy. This 2012 Teens and Privacy Management Survey gathered data from 802 teens and their parents. Everyone who participated in the survey lived in the United States; however, participants could take the survey in either English or Spanish.

Interesting Results

  • Parents report they are using a lot more social media — 66% of parents with children who use social media now use it themselves (compared with 58% in the 2011 survey).
  • One reason that parents are increasing their use of social media sites is to be able to facilitate ongoing family conversations about content.
  • Parents appear to worry more about advertisers who gather information about a child’s online activities than about a child’s possible contact with unfamiliar people.
  • Some teens whose parents are friends have learned how to restrict the information that parents see, but in general, they are positive about friending a parent.
  • Parents are increasingly aware of privacy policies — 44% have read a policy for a social media that one of their children uses and 39% told the survey that they are helping their children set up social media privacy settings.
  • Parents are concerned about a child’s online reputation, but the concerns are the highest as children get closer to applying to college.
  • Reputation management, when juxtaposed with the adolescent years, is tricky for teens.
Posted in digital parenting, media literacy, parents and technology, social media

The Children are Watching and Seeing, Listening and and Hearing

They watch us all the time. The students, that is. They listen to us sometimes. They learn from all that watching and listening.

                            –Theodore and Nancy Faust Sizer, The Students are Watching, 1999, Beacon Press

The Sizers wrote about classrooms and schools, explaining that students learn from what their teachers do and say and also from the things their teachers do not do or say. The authors illustrated their points in many ways, demonstrating how much our students learn from the things we do not do.

I read the Sizer’s book in the later 1990s with my growing child at home, so it was easy to see how the lessons applied not just to teachers but also to everyday family life. The message — that children learn from what we don’t do and don’t say as much as from the things we intentionally teach — applies well at home and at school.

This week, with so many media-rich events, I thought about the Sizers’ book. Adults spent a huge amount of time-consuming news about superstorm Sandy, the election, and for a few minutes, many of us gazed at a viral short video of a little girl crying out “No more Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney.” We encountered non-stop negative television commercials, disaster pictures and videos, television news programs, robo telephone calls, radios tuned into programs all day long (yes, I am guilty of keeping NPR on most of the day when I am home), and plain old-fashioned magazines and newspapers. Lot’s of us may have felt like crying. But my question is, “Why did Abby hear or see so much that she started to cry?”

Muppet Lydia Whatnot summed things up in her YouTube response

Continue reading “The Children are Watching and Seeing, Listening and and Hearing”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, choosing reliable resources, digital photography, evaluating web site resources, healthy media images, parents and technology, social media

7 Questions to Ask Before Sharing Hurricane Sandy Media With Kids

The Pier Before the Storm
Photo by Marti Weston, 2008

Parents and teachers of digital kids should make it a habit to evaluate media for authenticity and reliability rather than automatically sharing dramatic images with children. Evaluating media is a critical 21st Century skill — for adults and children

The other day a friend sent me a link to a storm picture. The image featured a familiar ocean pier with huge waves about to crash onto its farthest end. (The photo at left is the pier long before the storm). While the drama of the image intrigued me, on reflection I was bothered because I could not learn anything about the website that hosted the image. Other than labeling the town and the storm, the photograph offered no other identifying narrative.

With its ethereal quality, the image looked as if the pier was superimposed over a dramatic ocean scene — the waves and spray crashing at one end while the rest of the structure was clear without any water or spray obstructions. Moreover, since I was familiar with the location, I could not figure out where the photographer stood to take the picture. Perhaps I was wrong, but since I could not discover anything more about the picture, I decided not to send it to anyone else, and I am not even posting it here.

When a huge emergency like Hurricane Sandy occurs, digital pictures and videos circulate all over the web and via social media. A fair amount of these digital materials misrepresent the situation. To avoid focusing too much on the misrepresentations we need to apply some 21st Century common sense. Continue reading “7 Questions to Ask Before Sharing Hurricane Sandy Media With Kids”