A tech-savvy middle school parent sent me the link to the video at the end of this post. She added a comment: “This is scary. Should I let it upset me?” As of mid-April 2011, according to YouTube, the video has been viewed nearly 2.8 million times
There is nothing quite like the queasy feeling a parent gets when a media outlet airs a story with shrill content that aims to frighten and questions the safety of their children. In this case, the report included a solution at the end of the news segment, but by then many viewers were probably too upset to focus. YouTube makes it all so easy, and we can view the segment again and again and then pass it on to others. If each of us had more media literacy skill, we’d hit the stop button, move on to something else, and not even think about forwarding it to our friends.
Specifically, this video addresses two concepts: geotagging and location serviceson smartphones. Setting aside the anxiety about the information revealed by digital pictures, the video highlights a critical digital-age dilemma for parents: how to develop basic knowledge about the digital devices that they purchase for their children. Location service happens to be the current concern, but by the time the next round of must-have gadgets arrives on the scene, another issue will emerge. Knowledge is power.
The article describes how middle and high school students, from the Reston, Virginia area, volunteered to be cell phone tutors with seniors, helping them learn how to use mobile phone features such as texting and checking voice mail. While many of the senior participants attending Cell Phone 101 had purchased phones for safety reasons, most were not able to use other phone capabilities. The student mobile phone mentors demonstrated how seniors could use their phone more effectively, and voicemail tutorials appeared to be especially popular. Students also explained how some of the phone capabilities cost extra money to use.
If anyone in your family received a iPad or iPhone for a holiday gift (I discovered an iPad under my tree.), or if you already have these devices in your home, consider getting acquainted with the Today in iOS podcast series, a program series that devotes itself to the world of iPads and iPhones.
Originally called Today in iPhone — I’ve been listening since May 2009 — its name morphed in the spring of 2010 when Apple released the iPad. Subscribe to the podcast from iTunes or download the programs from the program website. Today in iOS also has its own nifty app, enabling users to download and listen to programs without going through the machinations of syncing and downloading from iTunes. Very handy.
Whether you own a personal iOS devices or merely supervise your child’s ownership, this is the place to find interesting information about apps, answers to questions, and lots and lots of background information. Listeners can e-mail, call, or even use the recording app on their devices to make and send an audio message. An archive of past shows on the Today in iOS website, and sometimes I download a group of older programs and listen to them in while I am driving.