Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.
On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name-calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.
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”→
These days everyone talks about personal wellness — those steps that people need to take to remain physically and mentally healthy and strong. But what about digital wellness? Poor digital health affects not only our connected lives but also our physical and mental well-being.
Digital wellness is about fine-tuning the 21st Century skills that we use to work and play in a connected world, and it also involves understanding a number of common myths about the nature of online life. Helping family members take steps to develop digital wellness habits can challenge parents, mainly because many children, pre-adolescents, and teens appear to be far more advanced online consumers than their parents. Underneath the veneer of digital native expertise, however, are a fair number of information gaps. Continue reading “10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider”→
It is a given in this age of connected life that our privacy is much diminished, and it does not matter whether we are children or adults. The trick seems to be for each us to make thoughtful decisions about what family members share and, as much as possible, be aware what is shared or collected about us.
For me, this has been an interesting week where privacy and kids’ privacy is concerned, because four distinct events occurred.
Just imagine what we could teach our 21st Century students and ourselves if, together with students, we organized social media weeks (or days) with presentations, demonstrations, and talks about all aspects of social networking — what’s good, what’s not so good, and what can be done with social media to make our lives better?
More importantly, what if in the process, we educators and some of our social-media-savvy parents demonstrated to students that we understand the role that social media plays in all of our lives while also emphasizing the need to manage and curate our profiles?
Social Media Weeks seek to do just that. The mission of social media week events is to promote a discussion about our always-connected lives, examining how things have changed, how to make the world a better place, and perhaps most importantly, how to learn from our mistakes. Online conferences, offline events, lectures, and dialogues are scheduled during four official social media weeks, held in major cities around the world. Continue reading “Social Media Week? What a Great Idea for Schools!”→
Just what can our Internet activity tell about us, and who can find the information? What do we unintentionally share? We tell our children not to share specifics kinds of personal information, but much of that information is somewhere — in the digital ether — a result of our various digital footprints, searches, apps settings, and smartphone connections, and waiting to be discovered.
Given the news about the massive amount of data collected by the National Security Agency, NPR reporter Steve Henn set out to find out how much of our data “seeps” out, potentially allowing others to learn all kinds of personal information about a person. Henn used himself as a test subject.
Do you wish you could amaze the digital kids in your life with trivia or fun facts about the connected world?
For the past couple of years, the Royal Pingdom site has posted a yearly overview of Internet statistics. The post, Internet 2012 in Numbers, shares some interesting figures, and they will indeed help you amaze the digital natives in your life. Moreover, these statistics can serve as excellent conversation starters and provide good context to help connected learners understand more about the size and scope of the digital world that they take for granted.
Here’s a sampling from the 2012 post. By the end of the year the Internet featured:
425 million active Gmail users
635 million web sites
51 new web sites added during the year
246 million domain name registrations
2.4 billion Internet users and 565 million of them are in China
175 million Tweets per day
40.5 years as the average age of a Facebook user
4 billion hours watched on YouTube per month
Check out the many other stats and some nifty graphs. Remember, though, that the statistics are from 2012. Royal Pingdom has also compiled numbers for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011,so you can have some fun comparing and contrasting the numbers from year to year (and watching them grow). The site has not posted statistics for 2013 – at least not yet.