Teachers all over the country are sharing ideas about how to help their students identify news that is made-up, unsubstantiated, or just plain false. Now Google has added a feature that identifies false information that comes up on user searches. An April 7, 2017 article at the Pointer Journalism site describes Google’s new fact check in detail and explains how the company went about developing its new feature. You can also read the CNET article about Google.
The minute a child gets that first web-connected mobile device, the adults in the family commit themselves to extended digital life “swimming lessons.”
Young swimmers become increasingly competent and skilled while at the same time needing adult support, supervision, and occasional intervention. Twenty-first Century digital natives require the same parental attention and guidance as they learn to operate safely and adroitly in the connected world waters. Swimming and connected-world activities, though they require long-term adult oversight, help children explore the world around them and gain confidence, learn new things and grow their abilities, learn to make good decisions and yes, avoid making bad ones. The key to their success is adult support.
After spending years teaching digital citizenship and civility in the K-12 world, I’ve now come to the conclusion that we parents and teachers should, in the midst of teaching children, stress that there is never privacy online. Yes, I know that we already teach this — or try to — in most schools and homes, but election 2016, accompanied by the theft and sharing of emails and other connected world materials, is scary. It has proven that everyone can be hurt by what they say online — even when what is said is not intended to generate hurtfulness.
Our confidential comments may differ from what we say in public. When our candid thoughts become widely available — yes, through hacking, but with kids, it’s through intentional sharing, gossip, or the unintentional mistakes that kids make — words can often be interpreted negatively. Moreover, at least for the time being, we live in a world where stealing a public figure’s private communications and making them public appears to be OK.
Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.
On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name-calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.
If you teach or think a lot about digital citizenship, take a few minutes to get acquainted with Connecting Wisely in the Digital Age. This new book is simple yet powerful, with content and context for adults who seek to support and mentor 21st Century digital kids. The goal is to help children develop a deeper understanding of the responsibilities that accompany their connected lives.
I am preparing to make a presentation to a group of well-informed teens at a school. In the process, I’ve reread the terms of service at a range of social media sites to remind myself about what can potentially happen to the pictures, comments, videos, and other content that we share on social media.
Social media is a part of life in today’s 21st Century world. Rather than wringing our hands about these apps, and the things that can go wrong, it’s a far better strategy for adults to proactively learn about social media, know what their digital children are using, and help them understand the power of social media apps. Moreover, every social media user — young and old — needs to develop strategies to use when things have the potential to go wrong.
Check out the terms of service for your favorite social media site. What do you think these policies mean for the pre-adolescents or teens in your life? The social media companies design these statements — albeit long documents — to make it clear what happens and what does not. What can you do to ensure that your child develops the necessary tools and strategies to think carefully about what content to post and share and what content to avoid sharing? Ongoing conversations about living in the digital world are a critical part of family life.
Each of the clips is from one of the social media websites, and I’ve added a link to each site’s complete terms of service document. Most of the companies want us to understand these documents.