Posted in cultural changes, digital learning, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology, writing for the web

Why I Blog for Media Tech Parenting

Made at

Over a year ago I started this blog, My aim was and is to organize, connect, and share resources on media, technology, and digital parenting — information that I encounter every day.

Over the course of a school year I often chat with adults about their digital kids. Most parents are enthusiastic, perhaps even astounded about the digital changes that occur every day in their lives. Yet, they also admit to feeling confused, worried, and even a bit befuddled. Often I find parents reflecting on how committed parents — who understand the importance of these digital changes — are supposed to keep track of the constantly changing digital landscape?

As a 22 year veteran in the educational technology world, I like to sift through articles, seek out references and discover resources that can help people — especially the parents of my students — understand more about the digital world. I read articles, watch videos, listen to stories, and keep an eye out for interesting research. It makes sense to share them on a blog. When I think about a post, I ask the question, “If I were a parent of a digital kid, what might I want to learn about?”

Continue reading “Why I Blog for Media Tech Parenting”

Posted in cell phones, digital parenting, online safety, online security

Clear Explanation About Cell Phone Hacking

Think seriously about securing the cell phones in your family. Over at NetFamilyNews Ann Collier has written a clear explanation of hacking and spoofing (and some links, too).

If you find you are glued to the news from Great Britain’s News Corp scandal, but still a bit fuzzy about how to implement better security on your own mobile phones, please read Collier’s post.

Continue reading “Clear Explanation About Cell Phone Hacking”

Posted in acceptable use, cell phones, digital citizenship, family conversations, parents and technology, teens and technology

Make a Digital Action Plan for Kids’ New Gadgets

 Any time a child receives a new digital device, parents need to update or introduce a digital gadget action plan — something akin to the rules-of-the road that are so critical to new teenage drivers. Flashy new smartphones, iPads, iPod Touches, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games — most connected in some way to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet — require parents to focus just as intently as they do on driving lessons. Sometime during the first week of gadget ownership, and especially before school vacation ends, sit down with your child and go over the expectations in your action plan.

My New iPad

Even as a youngster thrills to the capabilities of a new device, the potential for digital mistakes and judgment errors exists. A short, sarcastic comment or text can be perceived as cyber-bullying when it reaches its destination. A game can be played online with someone who is more interested in your child than the game. A couple of less than thoughtful words, sent to one person, can be forwarded easily and embarrassingly to many others. The right time to talk about acceptable use and intention versus consequence is when the device is new.

A digital action plan — an agreement, contract, or list of guidelines between you and your child — anticipates potential issues and lays out specific expectations that will arise when a youngster uses a digital device in the wider, less supervised, world.

A Few Points to Emphasize in Conversations With Your Child Continue reading “Make a Digital Action Plan for Kids’ New Gadgets”

Posted in answers to media questions, digital citizenship, digital photography, media literacy, parents and technology, privacy

Common Sense Media – Protecting Kids’ Privacy

Click to Visit Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media (CSM) is an advocacy group that I’ve noted a number of times on this blog. The group promotes media education rather than censorship and hands-on parent connections with their children’s media lives. President Obama mentioned CSM in his presidential campaign, lauding the organization’s “sanity not censorship” mission.

Currently Common Sense Media is focusing on privacy and kids with its Protect Our Privacy – Protect Our Kids campaign. The six goals of this effort, to which I’ve added a bit of additional explanation, include: Continue reading “Common Sense Media – Protecting Kids’ Privacy”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, American Academy of Pediatrics, device-free times, digital devices, digital parenting strategies, parents and technology, screen time

No Electronic Devices in Kids’ Bedrooms

cropped-ipad-melange.jpgCurrently, a conversation about screen time is occurring on my area listserv.  It’s interesting to read various points of view. Some people feel that various apps designed to limit screen time and other digital activities are the way to go.  Others point to need to be hands-on about contracts, agreements, and digital rules of the road.  Almost everyone seems to be frustrated about defining the line between schoolwork and recreational screen times. Twenty-first Century digital parenting never lacks for challenges!

Over the years, however, many parents have consistently told me about four effective steps they have taken when it comes to screen time. Continue reading “No Electronic Devices in Kids’ Bedrooms”

Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

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 and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

handout image 2
Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in parents and technology

Who’s in Charge of that Laptop or Digital Device from School?

Yesterday in the grocery store check-out line three parents chatted about the devices their children take back and forth to school. When you are cooling your heels waiting to pay for the food in your shopping cart, it is difficult not to listen to the various conversations occurring around you.

ipad work at homeEssentially the parents asked one another how they were monitoring what their middle school children do on their laptops during homework time. All three adults sensed that while their kids were working on their homework they were also engaged with other apps (like social media!). When they inquired, their offspring always said they were doing school work. The parents weren’t so sure. Continue reading “Who’s in Charge of that Laptop or Digital Device from School?”