Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

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Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital parenting, family conversations, New York Times, parent child conversations, parents and technology

Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use

screen timeAfter nine years of blogging at MediaTechParenting, I’ve written posts about kids, technology, parenting, screen time, citizenship, 21st Century life, digital devices — well you get the idea. Now a New York Times Smarter Living published report summarizes a good deal of what I’ve been writing about in a parents’ guide to raising and guiding kids in the digital world.

How (and When) to Limit Kids’ Tech Use by Melanie Pinola (@MelaniePinola) includes just about everything a digital age parent needs to know. The comprehensive and well-packaged guide overflows with information. Keep it nearby, whether your child is a new baby, a teenager, or any age in between.

Pinola breaks her digital parenting guide into three parts:   Continue reading “Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital kids, digital parenting strategies, parents and technology, personal data security, security questions

Should You Make Up Answers to Security Questions?

security-questions
Do your security question answers unlock too much information?

Why You Should Lie When Setting Up Password Security Questions, over at the Techlicious site, makes me seriously consider whether the use of security questions — and the answers that we provide —  should be re-evaluated. The 2018 article emphasizes the lack of security and privacy in our lives, and it notes that by giving responses that describe our personal lives we provide virtual keys that can open doors to potential identity theft problems.
Like a lot of people in the educational technology field, I spent a good deal of time helping 21st Century children understand the importance of not lying, especially about their ages. I  encouraged them not to engage in anonymous activities, and I counseled them to avoid sharing made-up information, gossip or innuendo via social media.   Continue reading “Should You Make Up Answers to Security Questions?”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, adolescent digital problems, digital health and wellness, digital parenting, parents and technology, social media, teens and technology, tweens and technology

Maybe Technology Itself Is Not the Primary Cause of Adolescent Digital Problems?

I’ve just finished reading a June 3, 2019 New York Times article, When Social Media is Really Problematic for Adolescents, by pediatrician Perri Klass and published for kids working on techher New York Times Check-up column. It’s an engaging read for parents of digital kids and for educators. (Check out other New York Times articles by Perri Klass.)

Dr. Klass makes a strong case for using a new paradigm when we consider the 21st Century digital world challenges of preteens and adolescents. She writes that technology activities such as gaming and social media may not be the primary cause of problems such as cyberbullying, addiction, or suicide, but rather interactive factors that further complicate the existing social-emotional and psychiatric problems of many young people.           

Continue reading “Maybe Technology Itself Is Not the Primary Cause of Adolescent Digital Problems?”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, connected world problems, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, parents and technology, social media

Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 9.54.10 PMDo you find yourself nervous and at wits end about all the problems with social media and kids? Do you dread hearing the next news report about kids, screens, and digital addiction because it feels too close to home? Are you regularly worried about the intensity of your own digital activities?

Few people will argue with the notion that our digital world needs tweaking. With data collecting running amock, hackers breaking into corporations around the world, bad actors using social media for espionage, parents’ worrying about screen time, and our personal privacy and information challenged day in and day out, people tend to panic about their kids and themselves. But panic is nothing new. Continue reading “Panic & Fear About Technology — Especially Social Media”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, civility, digital footprints, digital parenting, parents and technology, personal data, privacy

Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying

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A student’s final project.

For years, when I taught seminars in digital citizenship to third, fourth, and fifth graders, the primary topic was always digital footprints. Oh, we discussed and worked on lots of other 21st Century connected-world issues, civility, for instance, but everything seemed to wend its way back to those always-proliferating digital footprints.

We watched and rewatched my favorite digital dossier video from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. The students kept diaries and also asked their parents to do so. They found an online calculator to explore and considered how their permanent digital footprints might look a few years down the road. We made a list of all the potential places that might collect digital footprints, one year creating a list that started at the ceiling, went all the way to the floor and then back up to the ceiling again.

My students were always amazed at the size of their digital dossiers which included, in addition to email, apps, social media, and websites, a range of digital markings that they never considered such as credit cards, license plates, grocery store purchases, EZ pass travel, Amazon purchases, app downloads, and so much more. So when the time came for a final project — more than half or each fifth-grade class chose to concentrate on a digital footprint topic. Two of their posters are shared here. Continue reading “Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital devices, digital parenting, parental control apps, screen time

Five Articles About the Apple Parental Control App Controversy

The thing is, I love Apple. I’ve owned various Apple computers since 1984 and iPhones for almost ten years. Not to mention various other items like iPods and IPads. But once in a while, I find the policies in the App Store to be dispiriting. Now is one of those times.

screentimeAs a specialist in 21st Century educational technology and media literacy, I’ve often helped parents select a parental control app that is right for each family. Lots of these apps are out there, and they allow adults to ensure that their children are not misusing their mobile devices

Many of these parents realized the need for these apps, bought them — and used them — early on. Digital parenting is challenging, many of these parents took their responsibilities seriously, and the companies that enabled these good decisions should also be taken seriously.

Frankly, when it comes to monitoring screen time, Apple came late to the party. Continue reading “Five Articles About the Apple Parental Control App Controversy”