Posted in digital footprints, digital parenting, marketing to kids, media literacy, parents and technology, privacy, teaching digital kids

Can We Stop Confusing Kids’ Privacy with Transparency?

Our digital society hasn’t figured out what to do about privacy. More importantly, it hasn’t figured what to do about the privacy of our kids — we keep confusing privacy with transparency.

It’s problematic enough that adults are diving willy-nilly into the digital world, sharing everything about themselves, private and not so private, but it’s even worse to observe a world where everything a child does and almost every mistake he or she makes is now public. These days we are giving children and adolescents no cover and no protection as they blithely explore the digital world while making what in any other era would be common and developmentally appropriate errors.

Lest I sound like a digital Luddite, I’m not. I love participating in the activities of my digital world, actively but moderately, and I have an arsenal of digital gadgets in my purse, book bag, and lying around my house. As an educator, however, I am keenly aware of how much we are forgetting to nurture and honor kids’ developmental stages as they grow up in this digitally dense world. Part of solving that problem involves ensuring that children have a guaranteed amount of privacy.

Continue reading “Can We Stop Confusing Kids’ Privacy with Transparency?”

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, digital parenting, Do Not Track Kids Act, kids changing lives, online tracking, parents and technology, privacy

Support the Do Not Track Kids Act

Read the bill.

Today, February 7, 2012, take a few minutes to ask your United States Representative to support the Do Not Track Kids Act, a bill that seeks to prevent the tracking and collecting of kids’ online information and activities.

Parents and educators know how much children and teens love to explore the digital world, and that’s not going to change. What needs to change is the way companies collect information about kids’ digital activities and then use it for marketing purposes, much of it exploitative. The Do Not Track Kids Act aims to stop tracking the activities of children and adolescents and encourages companies to adopt a Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens.

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Posted in digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology, privacy

Think Before Taking Online Quizzes and Surveys

I have a big problem with online web surveys and quizzes aimed at kids. Many are tricky digital techniques using old-fashioned fun and emulating magazine quiz features of the past, but with a contemporary cyber-twist that encourages today’s web users — and many, many children — to happily divulge all sorts of personal information.

When you encounter a quiz or survey on a website, it’s a good time to chat with children about privacy and the methods that websites use to collect personal information. Remind them that no kid-friendly erasers are currently available to whisk things away once children provide information.

You may also want to visit the I Look Both Ways blog, where Linda Criddle has posted Online Quizzes and Surveys and the Real Risks These Represent. Linda’s post offers a comprehensive overview of the subject along with supplemental images.

Here’s a short excerpt — applicable for home and at school — from my November 2011 post at the Teaching Tolerance blog.

Continue reading “Think Before Taking Online Quizzes and Surveys”

Posted in answers to media questions, digital parenting, media literacy, parents and technology, social media, social networking

You Can be Media Savvy with Your Kids in 2012!

Common Sense Media recently posted Six Ways to be a Media Savvy Parent in 2012. The December 2011 report suggests all sorts of ideas that can help parents (and other adults) develop stronger media (and media literacy) skills.

Suggestions include downloading a game to play with the kids, trying out a social media site, investigating YouTube, and much more. Some these can ideas will provide great fun for kids and parents over the holiday vacation.

Visit Common Sense Media and try out some of these features.

Thanks to my colleague and friend Renee Hawkins for spotting a good media post (one that I had missed). Renee blogs with another friend and colleague, Susan Davis, at The Flying Trapeze.

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, answers to media questions, digital devices and gadgets, media literacy, parents and technology

Discouraging News on the Media Lit Frontier

Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, p 11

The New York Times has reported on a Common Sense Media (CSM) sponsored study, Zero to Eight, Children’s Media Use in America (PDF). The Times article, Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children, describes the study and points out that kids are in front of a screen more than ever despite the recommendations of their doctors.

After reading this I am feeling a bit more pessimistic than usual. Adults are used to tossing health caution to the wind for themselves, but we were vigilant about protecting the health of our children. Now we seem to disregard the recommendations of pediatricians — the very people who can help us do the most possible to ensure that our kids grow into strong and productive adults. Are we as a society less and less concerned about the development of strong minds? Times reporter Tamar Lewin writes:

Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ longstanding recommendations to the contrary, children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens…

Continue reading “Discouraging News on the Media Lit Frontier”

Posted in digital learning, digital parenting, online research, parents and technology

Common Sense Media — Research for Kids

Common Sense Media recently published a solid piece aimed at helping parents and kids refine and strengthen digital research skills.

Teach Your Kids the Secrets of Smart Web Searching focuses on good research practices, with tips on how to search effectively and and explanations about why it matters. This piece can help parents stay front and center, guiding their kids (and themselves) on the road to becoming stronger digital information consumers.

Also included are a few Google tips  — ideas that can help Google work for the learner rather than the other way around.

Also check out a post from this blog, How Much Does Your Child Search Links?

Posted in parents and technology

10 Safe(r) Social Networking Sites for Younger Kids

Over at KQED News, Linton Weeks wrote a July 11, 2011 article describing the need and desire of younger children to participate in social network activities (despite the expressed doubts of many parents). In his article, 10 Safe Social Networking Sites for Younger Kids, he lists ten kid-friendly social networking sites along with editorial comments on topics such as privacy and parent administration options.

If I were writing the headline, I would use the word “safer.” Why safer?  Continue reading “10 Safe(r) Social Networking Sites for Younger Kids”