Posted in 21st Century parenting, digital kids, digital parenting, digital wellness, parents and technology

Making Digital Parenting Easier, Not Scarier

Made with Festisite.
Made with Festisite.

It’s nearly impossible to compare the parental responsibilities before and after the onset of the digital age.

Parents today encounter one challenge after another, and each family member lives a slightly different connected life. Deciding on devices and time to spend on them is only one parenting issue. Other issues include the monitoring of child’s privacy, the access to so much uncensored information, the ease of making mistakes, and parental worries about what happens with devices when a child visits another household with different connected-world rules. And then there’s the big problem for adults — how they model (or don’t model) appropriate use for younger family members.
Many parents approach digital family life with focus and ongoing attention. That’s why Jane Brody’s two New York Times articles, Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll and How to Cut a Child’s Screen Time made me a bit nervous, Brody aptly describes screen addiction, a situation that is not uncommon, and she points out that parents, too, need to learn how to disconnect and pay more attention to their children. Brody offers several top-notch resources for parents and quotes Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose excellent book, The Big Disconnect, is an eye-opening presentation about the family and especially real-life parental problems in the connected world.                    Continue reading “Making Digital Parenting Easier, Not Scarier”

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, babies and technology, brain, parents and technology

Babies: The Real World or a Tablet Screen?

silo
The silo!

A baby carrier with an iPad holder?

Don’t babies need to be looking around and figuring out things about all the people and things around them? You know, mommy, daddy, toy, cat, dog, book, noise, quiet. I watched my daughter observing and responding to the differences in colors, light, contrasts, and people — real people — practically from the day she was born. Babies may not be able to talk or even move for a long time after birth, but they can watch real life —  and they work hard and learn a lot while they do all of that looking.

Seriously, do parents want a baby to stop figuring out and organizing the real world just to look at a screen — even for a short time?

Downstairs in my basement is an old-fashioned and wonderful Fisher-Price plastic barn and silo filled with people and animals. Two generations of babies and toddlers loved those toys, and now they’re waiting down there in a corner somewhere for the next child. The silo provided hours of interest for our daughter. Once she could sit up she started watching this bright red object. Inside were safe plastic animal toys for when she was learning to grab — but mostly she would knock the silo over or bang on it.

Continue reading “Babies: The Real World or a Tablet Screen?”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital parenting, digital world conversations, workshops and conferences

Soundbites From Day Two of FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #3

fosi2013While I could not spend the entire day at the FOSI2013 conference, I joined the event around 1:00 P.M. after a morning at school and just in time for a terrific panel, Child Psychology and the Effects of Technology. Later I attended a session, Creating Trust on Social Networks, with panel members from the social media industry who described in some detail how vendors and social media sites strive to commit themselves to user support, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and integrity — in theory, above profit concerns.

As usual, each of the break-out periods featured two sessions — topics that I really wanted to attend but scheduled at the same time — so I had the difficult task of making choices. Because FOSI2013 provided a detailed schedule before the conference began, I arrived with a pretty good idea about which session related more to the issues that I am currently thinking about and coping with at my school. Still, making this type of choice at a conference is always challenging. I’ve tentatively arranged to get together, face-to-face, with local colleagues who also attended the conference and swap notes about the sessions that we missed.

I might mention here that during a break my edtech colleague, David, and I struck up a conversation with Patricia, a conference attendee and government official from Kenya. She had arrived just before the conference and was leaving almost immediately afterward. He asked her if she would be attending the FOSI2014 conference next year and invited her to plan a few extra days and visit his school. I  chimed in and offered an invite to mine. Then we told Patricia that our independent school technology community is close-knit, and would welcome her at their schools, too.

To round out the afternoon, conference attendees all came back together to hear a group of experts discuss and distill some of the issues — privacy, digital citizenship, parenting, social media, connected life — that FOSI featured during the two-day conference. This was one of the most engaging conference activities, I think, because of the way the panelists — a journalist, an academician, a therapist, and a legal scholar — ranged back and forth over the topics connecting events and adding their own information.

Continue reading “Soundbites From Day Two of FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #3”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, parents and technology

Observations from FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #1

fosi2013I am away from school today, attending the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I plan to post several times over the course of the two days, and because I am putting connected-world sharing above almost-perfect prose, I’ll make basic edits as I write but spend more time tonight and tomorrow fine-tuning my posts.

Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!
Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!

The conference, held in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Conference, features all sorts of digital life movers and shakers who offer information and guidance to parents, children, and educators.

One always has interesting first impressions at the beginning of any conference. Is it easy to get settled? Yes. Is the wifi ready and easy for us to use? Yes, and I am using it now. Are the people friendly and helpful? A definite yes. And finally, does the conference facility have a coat check? Yes! There’s nothing worse than toting around a coat all day during a conference.  It remains to be seen if it will be easy to recharge my laptop when necessary, but I expect that will not be difficult either.

So now I get to excitedly anticipate the FOSI program. I await the panel on new research. I’m eager to hear from danah boyd (lower case intentional), especially about her upcoming book, It’s Complicated. (Editor’s Note: Even when I knew just a few of the many wonderful things about danah I was already a fan just because she attended the same university as my daughter.) Another author I’ll be interested to hear is Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose book, The Big Disconnect, is my current read and featured on the front of this blog.

Continue reading “Observations from FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #1”