10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

Will new devices, robots and other items that connect to the Internet with your wifi be arriving in your home during this 2016 holiday season? If so, check out this post about maintaining digital wellness in your family.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

Digital WellnessThese 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 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.             

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Teaching Civility to Kids? Excellent Resource @ WikiHow

Civil behavior is a fundamental building block of our democracy, and throughout our history both children and adults have strived — and occasionally struggled — to demonstrate it through their behavior. In our 21st Century connected world, civility has become even more difficult for many people to understand and attain because certain aspects of digital life can thwart many individual’s good intentions.

unnamedIf you are seeking useful information about civility to share in your school or community, check out How to Teach Civility to Kids, over at wikiHow. The article is, in essence, a tutorial, explaining what adults should do to encourage young people to grow into civil and kind individuals, and it offer specific ideas for conversations and activities.

Parents and teachers spend an enormous amount of their time and energy focusing with children on why it’s important to become civil individuals and  emphasizing that these principles are the same either online or off. Yet educators and adults need continuing support and guidance as they go about the work of promoting and upholding civility. Their challenges are encouraging kids to learn how to be respectful and how to disagree respectfully and  demonstrating to children the importance of being polite, even when they don’t feel like it. Encouraging children to assist others and be kind anytime ensures that children understand much more about what it means to be civil. The wikiHow article offers information and help. Continue reading

Can iPads Help Kids Stay Calm & Avoid Meds Before Surgery?

ipad-1Sometimes kids get so ultra-focused on their iPads that they don’t notice anything that’s going on around them, and sometimes parents and teachers despair. There are, however, situations where 21st Century digital kids’ intensive engagement and concentration can be put to good use — even with a digital device.

Physician Dominique Chassard, an anesthesiologist in Lyon, France, wanted to find out whether children preparing for pediatric ambulatory surgery would do just as well if they had iPads to play with before an operation as with a routine pre-anesthesia sedative. The study authors divided participant families into two groups. Half of the children received the standard sedative treatment and the other half were given iPads so they could play with games and puzzles. Continue reading

After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids — 2016 Update

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My new iPhone, purchased in early 2016.

Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. This list gives parents a head start, identifying challenges, offering explanations, anticipating problems, and most importantly, setting the stage for responsible and respectful use of exciting but extraordinarily powerful devices.

The time adults spend preparing for new devices that enter a family’s life is well spent and spending that time up front  may well prevent a huge time drain later on after a your child experiences a connected world problem. Parents are simultaneously guides, limits setters, and lifeguards, whether or not they know as much about digital life as their children.

The MediaTechParenting 2016
         Digital Parents’ Holiday and Beyond Checklist        

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Teaching Children (and Adults) to Extricate Themselves from Offensive Situations

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few taps on the keyboard.

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few comments or  taps on the keyboard. Develop strategies to contain it.

Can a person learn how to respond to an offensive or hateful situation? Can adults help 21st Century young people master the skills? Earlier this fall I wrote a post, Is Hate Speech Here to Stay?, wondering if up-front, in-your-face hate and offensive speech will be a continuing problems in our connected world.

Recently a New York Times article, Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech, described the challenges and awkwardness that individuals experience when they happen to hear or see a person engaging in offensive activity. The piece highlighted research about what occurs when people challenge offensive speech, and it suggests concrete steps that a person can take when confronted by offensive behavior or speech.. The authors, Benedict Carey and Jan Hoffman, point out that researchers have consistently found that a person who  makes the awful comments will often curb behavior when another expresses reservations or reacts in a more indirect way.

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Media Literacy, Girls, Women, and Beauty Magazines

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Check out the video below.

Each month I receive several teen and women’s magazines to look over, and I immediately go through each one to tear out scads of perfume advertisements. My allergies react to the scented pages, and it is much easier to read the articles when I vanquish the perfume ads .

Recently I began thinking about how many advertising pages — perfumes and everything else — publishers cram into each issue that we read, knowing that almost all of them focus on female body image and portray unrealistic, and usually unattainable perfection. These days, so much of what kids see is digital, but these magazines still loom large in the lives of pre-teen and adolescents girls.

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6 Digital Life Conversation Starters to Use in School Meetings, Discussions & Presentations

How much should parents know about the settings on children’s digital devices?

How much should parents know about the settings on children’s digital devices?

Now that back-to-school nights are about over, schools will be scheduling parent potlucks, curriculum nights, and educational seminars throughout the academic year. These activities offer lots of opportunity for educational communities to start conversations about the challenges — for parents and kids — of growing up in the connected world.

At all of these events administrators, teachers, and parents should plan to incorporate a few introductory comments that encourage parents think about helping their digital children become stronger learners, more savvy digital citizens, better consumers of content on their digital devices, and overall, more knowledgeable citizens.

Below are a few questions that can be shared at a school events and classroom presentations, questions that encourage parents to talk about managing life with 21st Century digital kids. While there are no right answers to these questions, the conversations provide adults an opportunity to talk about what works — and what does not —  in the context of young people’s school and social lives.

Choose one or at most two inquiries to use at each activity. Continue reading