A Funny TED Talk About Responding to Spam Offers

If you shake your head in frustration when you get suspicious offers from various parts of the world that ask for money and offer to share profits in return, this 2015 Ted Talk given by comedian and writer James Veitch,  Please note that he does not use his personal email account to do this…

Laugh, and then keep deleting any of those emails that get through your spam filter.

Let’s Also Think About Grown-up’s Screen Time

Mid-morning coffee with an iPad.

Mid-morning coffee with an iPad.

With so much conversation about screen time for kids of all ages, it’s also useful think and talk about adults’ screen time. Adults model, but not always well, screen time habits for the young people in their families. When asked, most 21st Century children can share all sorts of stories about how much time their parents spends on their devices, even at inappropriate or inopportune times.

In his New York Magazine article, I Used to Be a Human Being, writer and contemporary thinker Andrew Sullivan contemplates the overwhelming “full immersion” that he and many adults experience with the online world.

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Sharenting? A Child’s Digital Future Requires Careful Consideration Today

It was so much easier when we shared in photo albums!

It was so much easier when we shared in photo albums!

I’ve often written about sharenting — defined as digital age parents sharing their 21st Century kids’ photos, stories, and information via Facebook, blogs, and other public online social media.

If you are mulling over the sharenting topic and want more guidance and perspective, take a few minutes to read a just-published article over at Sonya Livingstone’s Parenting for a Digital Future blog. The article, written by Alicia Blum-Ross, Where and When Does a Parent’s Right to Share End Online?, discusses the ways that bloggers who are also parents think about sharing information online and the “digital dilemma” that they experience. Blum-Ross also explores how these parents consider the future that their children will experience while growing up and examining the digital information about themselves.

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Needed: Digital Rules-of-the-Road for Kids’ New Smart Devices

made_at_www.txt2pic.comAfter the December holidays, lots of digital kids will begin using new handheld devices, but as these new gadgets come out of their boxes, parents need to update or introduce a family digital device action plan. A family’s plan is similar to the rules-of-the road guide that is so critical to new drivers.

These days most flashy new smartphones, iPads, tablets, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games are connected to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet, and much of the time these devices are used in places where adults are not present. So sometime during the first week of gadget ownership – or better yet, as the devices come out of their boxes – parents and children need to sit together and review digital behavior and expectations.

To help come up with your expectations, check out a comprehensive list of Internet sites with information about family digital life contracts and agreements. Many parents include these agreements in the box so the conversation begins as soon as a child opens the gift.                               Continue reading

5 Digital Parenting Questions to Ask As Your Kids Return to School

Now that we are all returning to school routines, take the time to make a few 21st Century family decisions — choices that can help the device-users in your family grow more careful, thoughtful, and serious about their connected world  responsibilities. With so much going on the digital world, parenting today is a bit like riding a roller coaster. But some carefully considered decisions can set the stage for fewer digital world scrapes and bumps in a family’s life.

1. Where will digital devices be charged at night? Most educators recommend that families charge devices in a centralized location away from bedrooms. Many parents also set an evening time limit after which mobile phones, iPads, and even the Internet cannot be used.made_at_www.txt2pic.com

2. If students have significant amounts of online homework, where will they work? Dining room table? Family room? Den? Most educators and pediatricians suggest that students do  homework on computers that are located in places where other people also spend time and not in the bedroom. Check out How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn over at the KQED Mindshift website.

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Common Sense Questions to Ask Before Posting Photos

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Twenty-first Century learners are great when it comes to intrinsically understanding how to easily use resources and share information in the digital world, but they often need assistance making careful judgements about what is appropriate to share (and what is not). When a problem occurs, it’s often because a child makes an instantaneous decision to send off an image — and it turns out to be the wrong decision. It’s just so easy to share!

Check out this terrific poster, with questions to ask before sharing a photo, easily used when you discuss social media and digital common sense issues at home or in a classroom. We all make digital errors from time to time, but this graphic can help us develop a visual memory that assists with decision-making.

The image is available at Common Sense Media, and I discovered it on the Edudemic blog. It will serve as a great jumping off point anytime image-sharing issues arise.

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9 Suggestions to Help Families Think About Digital Device Moderation

Designed using images from the Apple website.

Designed using images from the Apple website.

I love my iPhone and iPad, and I cannot do many things without them. For children under 13, however, use time should be carefully monitored by each family. Kids today are playing independently with powerful devices, and they — the devices and the children — are not intended to interact in isolation and for long periods without adult supervision.

An article that provides food for thought, Your Phone Verses Your Heart, appeared in the March 23, 2013 New York Times. Also, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics media resources — the pediatricians are making recommendations because they know what they are talking about.

Just today I asked a group of device-savvy fifth graders, most around age 10, if they know anything about SnapChat, the app that deletes pictures in one to ten seconds (leaving plenty of time for a recipient with poor judgement to take a screen shot and save the photo). Just about every hand went up. During a lesson a few months ago I asked them how many of them know how to make a screenshot — and they can all do it in a lot less than ten seconds. Read my SnapChat review here.

A Few Social Media Supervision Suggestions            Continue reading