I just finished reading an engaging National Public Radio (NPR) reportabout Dana Suskind, MD, a University of Chicago surgeon, learning about her new book, 30 Million Words, Building a Child’s Brain. Dr. Suskind, who notes that we should speak to babies all the time that they are awake — when we play, when we help them with things, when out on walks and whenever else, because it ensures that the best neural development takes place. Baby talk has a huge purpose.
After writing my previous post, Does Digital Life Distort our Conversation Skills? about Sherry Turkle’s new book, I was reminded about the people we see talking on mobile phones while pushing wide awake babies in strollers. But I also pictured myself grabbing a glance at my phone when my baby grandson gets especially engaged with a toy — a time when I should continue to, well, babbling away with him.
If you are an educator or parent searching for just the right comments about digital parenting to use at a school, organization, or parent meeting, take a look at the blog post A Booster Shot on Parents’ Night by Ann Klotz over at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Klotz, the head of the Laurel School outside of Cleveland, hits the nail on the head, using a healthy child metaphor to describe the important responsibilities — digital and otherwise — for the parents of digital kids. Adults, she points out, must take on these responsibilities no matter how they feel about technology (or even how much more a parent thinks a child knows about technology). Below is one paragraph from Klotz’s post, but I suggest that you read the entire post.
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.
While we have many good reasons for wearing fitness trackers, Raskin’s piece explains how the device companies accumulate, post, and use our data. More importantly, she describes how the fitness data has inspired public health initiatives — just one more reason to wear a tracker. With all the concern about personal data in our 21st Century lives, it’s nice to know that sometimes the information can be put to good use.
Exactly one year ago, I began wearing my JawboneUP 24 personal fitness bracelet. The first day I put it on, expecting to record 10,000 steps without thinking much about it. Boy, was I wrong. Despite the fact that I exercised four to five times a week, it turned out that many days I was barely getting over 5,000. For weeks I had to focus on accumulating the other 5,000. Over the first month, however, I discovered that I liked keeping track of my steps, and by the day things got easier and easier.
Ever so often adults are reminded that the world where we grew up is dramatically different from the world where our 21st Century children live, learn, and grow. What is new and different for parents and educators is merely routine to digital kids.
Over at the TeachThought blog I discovered an interesting article about the dramatic life changes that have occurred during the first 16 years of Google’s existence (dramatic to adults, that is). The author uses Google as a yardstick to measure the ways the world has changed during those 16 years, Click on the box below to read the whole article.
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.