What can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids, with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online activities, get off to a good start at the beginning of the school year?
Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members.
It’s back-to-school 2015, a time to list the many tasks we need to accomplish before the start of the new academic year. We think about school supplies, new clothes and shoes, new lunch boxes, and, of course, new digital devices and computers. We check off our lists as we go, getting our 21st Century children ready to return to school.
Yet back-to-school season is also a useful time for parents to list, consider, and articulate connected-life expectations, old and new, for the coming year. What do you want your children to do or not do? How do you expect them to behave when a friend encourages behavior that is not allowed at home?
These days everyone talks about personal wellness — those steps that people need to take to remain physically and mentally healthy and strong. But what about digital wellness? Poor digital health affects not only our connected lives but also our physical and mental well-being.
Digital wellness is about fine-tuning the 21st Century skills that we use to work and play in a connected world, and it also involves understanding a number of common myths about the nature of online life. Helping family members take steps to develop digital wellness habits can challenge parents, mainly because many children, pre-adolescents, and teens appear to be far more advanced online consumers than their parents. Underneath the veneer of digital native expertise, however, are a fair number of information gaps. Continue reading “10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider”→
Please email Marti if you know of a good contract, agreement or screen time resource that is not listed below.
An Amusing But Pointed Poem for Kids With New Digital Devices – My poem penned in honor of National Poetry Month 2017, and aims to help kids and their parents take connected world issues seriously as they get started with devices and agreements. Feel free to share with your child when he or she gets a new device. Please note attribution requests on the poem’s page.
Below I’ve added a gallery of images for books that relate in some way to digital citizenship, digital parenting, and teaching digital kids. I’ve used images from authors’ websites or book reviews. The WordPress image gallery feature does not allow links, so to help you learn more about each book, I’ve put links to each at the bottom of this page, appearing in the same order as books appear in the book gallery.
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.
Today with everyone connected all of the time, families need to think about scheduling disconnect time at home. Recently I read that, before cabinet meetings at the White House, the president requires attendees to leave phones and Blackberries in a basket by the door. Without interruptions from communication devices, people can concentrate on the conversation and on the important issues. Most importantly, cabinet members are able to listen to each other without distractions.
Family meals are the perfect time to disconnect phones and Blackberries. Increasingly, pediatricians and other family researchers believe that regular, all-family mealtimes provide children with a range of advantages. To improve communication and interaction, each person can turn off the ringer and deposit his or her phone in a location away from the table, preferably in another room. Dinner table conversation can proceed uninterrupted so family members will listen more carefully to one another. Make the dining room a gadget-free zone during meal times.