Posted in cultural changes, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, gadget ownership, parents and technology

Digital Kids to Parents: Please Learn More…

With more than 30 years as a teacher including over 20 in the educational technology field, I’ve heard many kids reflect thoughtfully, and not so thoughtfully, on their parents’ digital skills.

Here are the seven most common “I Wish” statements that I’ve heard expressed by children over the last 16 or 17 years. Two of them my daughter told me.

Kids wish their parents and other adults would:

Continue reading “Digital Kids to Parents: Please Learn More…”

Posted in acceptable use, Bookmark It!, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parents and technology

NetSmartz: Digital Suggestions for Summer Family Fun

This set of summer digital activities, 5 Things You Can Do Online With Your Child This Summer, arrived in my e-mail a week or so ago. The list includes simple, but open-ended activities, each one enjoyable by itself, but with the potential to lead parents and children in many additional and enjoyable digital directions during the summer vacation. The ideas come from NetSmartz.

NetSmartz is an interactive and educational program for parents and kids, connected with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). NetSmartz uses its considerable resources and clout to educate, engage, and empower children and their families about digital care and safety.

Visit the NetSmartz parents’ site. — Visit the site for Kids. — Visit the site for teens.

NetSmartz also features a wide range of digital safety educational resources for educators and law enforcement professionals.

No blog, though, at least not one that I can find. Puzzling since they provide some excellent information on blogging. Why not an example of what good blogging looks like — maybe one for parents and one for adolescents?

Posted in digital parenting, family conversations, online safety, online security, parents and technology, teens and technology

Summer Vacation and Family Digital Conversations

I recommend this documentary for a summer family movie night.

Are you thinking about digital citizenship and safety conversations? Do you want to learn more about Wikipedia?  Summer is a great time for these talks. Here’s why.

School’s out and many children fill at least part of their summer days with World Wide Web activities on fast internet connections. Camps and day camps feature computer labs and lots of specialized digital programs. On the go, we increasingly carry more gadgets — mobile phones, smartphones, iTouches, Blackberries, and iPads. In fact, even on vacations and at hotels, cottages, and many of those rustic country cabins we all hope to escape to, we stay connected. After years of teaching, I’ve found that my students’ digital skills usually expand during the three-month summer hiatus from school.

Adults can learn more, too. Ask your children to help you expand your own skills. Maybe you want to download videos or save podcasts to your smartphone. Perhaps you can start a family blog, really learn how to use your digital camera, or ask your child can show you how to make special ringtones from your favorite music. If you don’t know how to text, summer is a great time to learn. Read 7 Constructive Digital Suggestions from Kids to Parents.

Continue reading “Summer Vacation and Family Digital Conversations”

Posted in cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, online safety, parent child conversations, parent education, parents and technology, teens and technology

Teens, Parent Anxiety, and the Internet

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Day after day frightening stories bombard us with warnings about what might happen to children and teens when they use the Internet and World Wide Web, so it’s useful to remind ourselves that these digital resources can provide our children with unparalleled opportunities to learn, socialize, and become active citizens. An article, Our Overblown Paranoia About the Internet and Teens, recently published in the online publication, Salon, provides just such a reminder.

Pediatrician Rahul Parikh, who practices in the San Francisco Bay area, points out that, despite all of our anxiety about teens and Internet risks, no statistics really exist to offer a full picture of the incidence of exposure to risk. Those few that do are often biased because of a common problem for research, posing questions to get the desired answer. Situations that do occur are often covered by a hysterical media, making us feel like a problem happens over and over, just around the corner. Continue reading “Teens, Parent Anxiety, and the Internet”

Posted in Bookmark It!, digital parenting, parent child conversations, parents and technology, service-learning

Kids’ Service, Giving, and Philanthropy — Bookmark It!

Click to visit Learning to Give

Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan two weeks ago, I’ve thought a lot about teaching children the importance of making contributions and volunteering all of the time, not just when a catastrophe occurs and relief efforts are all over the news.

Recently I discovered Learning to Give, a long-established website that helps children learn about volunteerism, giving, service learning, and civic engagement. The organization encourages parents, church leaders, and educators to make service learning and philanthropy a significant presence in the lives of children.

Learning to Give, which gets nearly half-a-million hits a month, features digital and downloadable resources for parents, teachers, and church leaders to use with children. Materials on the site include: Continue reading “Kids’ Service, Giving, and Philanthropy — Bookmark It!”

Posted in answers to media questions, family conversations, media literacy, parents and technology

Talking to Children About the News

News saturates our world. The electronic media makes small events large and dramatic events frightening. Moreover, with around-the-clock media coverage, many news stories feel like they will never end. Read Facts for Families: Children and the News, at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website.

So what should parents do to help children process news, especially when a frightening or dramatic event is relentlessly covered in the media? Continue reading “Talking to Children About the News”

Posted in digital parenting, Evaluating Web Resources, parents and technology, research on the web

Kids and Web Credibility

Click for PDF of the book.

If you worry about the digital research activities of children, especially older students who complete significant amounts of their research using the unlimited resources available on the World Wide Web, you are not alone. Over the past 10 years I have wondered — more than once and sometimes with great angst — if my child and the many children I’ve known over the years really understand the need to evaluate the resources that they find on the web.

Recently I discovered a small book, published by the MacArthur Foundation, describing research that explored how children perceive the quality and reliability of digital media. It’s a book that concerned parents may want to read. In Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility, authors Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger, summarize their study as a “…comprehensive investigation into youth’s Internet use and their assessment of the credibility of online information.” The authors wondered whether young digital media users, while sophisticated and fearless about using technology, could evaluate information and determine its quality. Continue reading “Kids and Web Credibility”