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

Back to School Digital Parenting Checklist — 2019-20

backpack picAt 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.

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 Digital Parenting Checklist — 2019-20”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, Back-to-school digital reading, data collecting, digital devices, digital kids, family conversations, parents and technology, supervising digital kids

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.

Continue reading “5 Digital Parenting Questions to Ask As Your Kids Return to School”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital devices, digital kids, family life, parents and technology

Get Better Quality Sleep With a Centralized Home Charging Station

From a MakeZine Activity. http://makezine.com/craft/how-to_diy_device_charging_sta/
Check out this MakeZine Activity!

Where a digital device is charged is a health issue for 21st Century children.

With so many different electronic devices in our lives, it’s easy to get distracted and use them for extended periods and inappropriate times. Concerns about overuse abound, but one of the most significant issues is the way that digital devices keep people, especially 21st Century preadolescents and teens, from getting enough good quality sleep.

To improve sleep habits in your house, consider purchasing or one or two digital gadget charging stations where family members can charge phones and other devices. Locate the charging stations away from the bedrooms.

A Google search for charging stations gets you started, or you can begin with this Mashable post, 10 Chic Charging Stations.

Charging station at Pottery Barn.
Charging station at Pottery Barn.

I recently discovered, in a small way, just how a cell phone screen can disrupt sleep. I received a new Solitaire game app and began playing two or three games on my iPhone just before bed several nights in a row. A few games grew into 20 or 30 minutes of play, and for three nights in a row, when I put down the phone, it took me a long time to settle down and get to sleep. The fourth night I did not play, and sleep came easily.

Lesson learned.

One of my favorite charging stations is the red box at the top right of this post, a nifty do-it-yourself craft project made from a filing box. Click on the image link and check it out at MakeZine.

Twenty-first century parenting demands are unending and sometimes difficult to solve, but introducing charging stations into a home is a simple and elegant solution that addresses sleep deprivation issues for everyone in the family.

Other than ensuring a child gets all of the recommended vaccinations, supervising good sleep is just about the best thing a parent can do for a child’s health.

A Few Resources on Sleep Deprivation and Digital Device Screens (repeated from the previous post)

Posted in cell phones, digital parenting, parents and technology

Want Sleep in Your Home? Get Charging Stations

Charging stations at Pottery Barn.

To make a positive difference in the quality of  your household’s sleep, consider purchasing one or two charging stations where family members’ phones and other devices can be charged at your house. Install charging stations away from the bedrooms of family members. A Google search for charging stations gets you started, or you can begin with this Mashable post, 10 Chic Charging Stations.

I recently discovered, in a small way, just how a cell phone screen can affect sleep. I received a new Solitaire game app, and I started playing two or three games on my iPhone just before bed several nights in a row. A few games grew into  20 or 30 minutes of play, but when I put down the phone, it took me a long time to settle down. The fourth night I did not play, and sleep came easily. Lesson learned.

I’ve added four pictures of charging stations that my family has checked out — some practical and others with a bit of whimsy. Many others are available. Continue reading “Want Sleep in Your Home? Get Charging Stations”