Posted in 21st Century parenting, acceptable use, American Academy of Pediatrics, digital devices and gadgets, digital kids, parent child conversations, parents and technology

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 Versus 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 judgment to take a screenshot 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 “9 Suggestions to Help Families Think About Digital Device Moderation”

Posted in acceptable use, cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, family conversations, mobile phones, parent child conversations, parents and technology, teens and technology

Needed: 2013 Digital Rules-of-the-Road for New Smart Devices

cell phone contract graphicAfter the December holidays, lots of digital kids are using new digital devices.

Each new digital gadget requires that parents update or introduce a family digital device action plan — akin to the rules-of-the-road that are so critical to new drivers.

These days flashy new smartphones, iPads, iPod Touches, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games are connected in some way to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet. Sometime during the first week of gadget ownership parents and children need to sit together and review digital behavior and expectations.

Continue reading “Needed: 2013 Digital Rules-of-the-Road for New Smart Devices”

Posted in cell phones, digital citizenship, online safety, online security, parents and technology, privacy

Do You Think Monitoring Will Help With Online Safety?

If you think about using some type of product to monitor your child’s online activities and safety, the Mashable blog has just published information about four digital tools that may help you understand more about these types of products. Notice I use the word “may” because on the web nothing is for sure. The services, all with monthly payments, alert parents when something questionable is discovered, so they do more than simply monitor a home network.

The blog posting, written by Sarah Kessler and originally published by MyLife Scoop blog, refers to a Yahoo family survey finding that more than 70% of parents take at least some action to manage/monitor/limit their children’s online activities and presence. Check out what Kessler has to say about these four monthly subscription  services.

  1. SafetyWeb
  2. SocialShield
  3. AOL SafeSocial
  4. GoGoStat Parental Guidance.
Posted in acceptable use, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parents and technology

Intention vs. Consequence: What Kids Don’t Understand

In the world of digital parenting, three words help adults understand how a child’s digital activities get out of hand. Using these words — magnification, intention, and consequence — in parent-child conversations can, over time, help everyone understand more about why digital problems occur.  

  • Magnification – If digital media is involved, mistakes, even those made by well-behaved and thoughtful kids, loom large and quickly become public. The magnification of a seemingly small problem often leads to embarrassment or even humiliation for everyone involved. In the digital world, private mistakes can evolve into magnified public ones.


  • Intention – While the world of pre-adolescents and adolescents can be rough and tumble on any day, unintended reactions to their digital activities often surprise kids. Most often a problem involves one student communicating with another, and if the initiator had only taken even moment to think over an impulsive action, the incident might not have occurred.


  • Consequence – If a digital problem becomes too public, too magnified, and too hurtful, consequences matter much more than anything a child intended to happen. From a young age, we teach children to say they are sorry when something goes wrong, but in the digital world, the degree of hurt and humiliation may mean that an apology is only the beginning of the recovery process.

Most adults remember a time when behavioral mistakes were more private. Rarely were our errors, even the big ones, known by more than a few people. The mechanisms for passing information from place to place, for broadcasting a problem to the world, were minimal. Times have changed.

This video below — Stop Think Connect — is a helpful resource for families with children in grades 4 – 7.

Posted in digital parenting, online databases, parents and technology, research on the web

Do You Know What Makes a Good Website? Does Your Child Know?

If the information in this post is helpful, you may also want to read my post Staying Ahead With Digital Research.

How can one determine whether or not a website is reliable?

Obviously if the website is part of  library resources, students and parents can usually be assured of its quality. However, when a child sits down at a personal home computer, makes a general search on a topic for a school assignment, and begins clicking through results, understanding the characteristics that make a website reliable is critical.

Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …
  • Is the site visually interesting with an organized layout?
  • Does it balance writing with helpful  illustrations?
  • Is the writer qualified to be writing on the subject?  How do you know?
  • Can you identify facts and information about your topic that you already know are accurate
  • Are the fonts simple, easy to read, and uncluttered?
  • Is the site updated on a regular basis?  How do you know?
  • Are there irritating pop-ups and/or other distractions. (However be aware that newspapers do have these pop-up windows.)
More Questions to Help Parents and Children Determine if a Website is Reliable …

Continue reading “Do You Know What Makes a Good Website? Does Your Child Know?”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology

Help! What’s that Internet Term? M!T!P! Blog Excursion-10/5/10

Click to go to GetNetWise.

So you are online, and you see a term you do not understand — aggregator, for instance or secure socket layer (SSL). How about TRUSTe? No need to despair. Instead, when you discover an unfamiliar word go to  GetNetWise and visit the Internet glossary.

Although your digital children whiz confidently around the virtual world (probably too confidently, from your perspective), it’s likely that they don’t know many of these terms either. Make it your business to learn about them and have fun demonstrating your knowledge.

The site also features a Tools for Families database to help parents search for filters, blockers, monitors and other tools to assist families craft home Internet environments. You can also check out the GetNetWise blog.

Posted in acceptable use, digital parenting, digital photography, image evaluation, media literacy, parents and technology

The Power of Instant Images: Digital Photography Series, Part I

So your child has a new digital camera or phone, a birthday or holiday present, or a just-for-fun gift, and photos are now speeding through the virtual world in every direction — via e-mail to friends, in a Flickr album, attached to a text message, and highlighting social networking comments. Before too many pictures find they way to these and other locations, take some time for a digital photo-taking orientation — a review of guidelines and expectations. Today’s world is a vastly different place, nothing like the photo-taking environment that most adults remember from their younger days, and photos can end up in unanticipated places or cause unforseen problems.

Photography in the last ten years or so has undergone extraordinary changes. No longer do we buy and load film. Nor do we wait a few days for processing to look at our pictures. Today instant access, in terms of speed and range of circulation, defines photography. Pair this speed with the occasional child or adolescent misjudgment, and an image becomes public in moments. This impulsive image sharing can cause hurt feelings, anger, and even accusations of cyber-bullying.

Continue reading “The Power of Instant Images: Digital Photography Series, Part I”