1. Save Facebook, Google+, and other big-time social networking experiences for high school.
2. Know your child’s passwords.
3. Keep online computer activities out of the bedroom. Also, plan on no-screen wind-down time during the last half hour before bed. (Yes, even those bedtime friendly Kindles – why not use bedtime-friendly books?)
4. Set up an overnight charging area for cell phones and other gadgets outside of the bedroom, preferably on another floor or part of your home.
5. Consider writing up digital device contractsand using these agreements with your child. Feel free to take away privileges, or even the device, if your expectations are not met.
When we adults were students, we learned to write content-filled essays and reports, introducing the important facts about a subject. We discovered these facts by using quality reference materials, often at a library.
With today’s digitized resources and websites, a student follows roughly the same routine, but resource reliability is a significant issue. While it’s easy to find sites with information about a topic, identifying reliable and significant information is more of a challenge. The trick is to discover whether or not a site is a reliable resource.
Help your child determine the quality and reliability of a site before using it as a digital resource. The University of Maryland posts this short handout that explains how to go about evaluating a website.
Many sites appear to be real as well as reliable, but they are bogus. An entertaining website for you and your child to explore features bogus websitesdesigned to look accurate and authoritative. Except that they aren’t. Take a few minutes to explore these bogus sites.
Last Monday I read three powerful articles, and they fit together like a puzzle. They illustrate how a generational digital divide accentuates adolescent virtual world problems — a result of the contradictory digital perceptions of teens and adults.
POISONED WEB: A Girl’s Nude Photo and Altered Lives, appeared in the New York Times. The article describes how small, teenage misjudgments in the unsupervised world of instant web, smartphones, and cyber-bullying, can magnify hate and cause terrible pain. Reporter Jan Hoffman quotes adults who wish they had supervised more carefully and pledge to do more in the future. I wondered, as I often do when I read these articles, what leads adults not to supervise in the first place? Reading about the teachers, administrators, and officials who attempted to create opportunities for growth and learning out of the senseless hurt and cruelty was a highlight of the article.