If you worry about sexting, your child, and even the friends of your children, take a few minutes to read a Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) digital parenting brief, Sexting: Felony or Flirting?This article fills in a lot of blanks for concerned parents who observe adolescents treating the sexting issues with almost casual regard.
The piece, by FOSI International Policy Manager, Emma Morris, offers broad information and excellent advice for the parents of digital kids, including overviews of recent news stories, research, and court cases.
Blogging can be a solitary endeavor, so it’s exciting when another cool website publishes a blogger’s thoughts and ideas. Over the past several weeks I’ve had two blog posts published over at A Platform for Good (PFG), a part of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).
PFG aims to encourage parents, kids, and educators to connect with one another and think about “doing good” in the digital world. The website and the blog focus on a range of interesting topics with lots of ideas on digital parenting, learning, growing up in today’s world, and many other authentic opportunities — all great for us to have access to in a connected world.
I am away from school today, attending the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I plan to post several times over the course of the two days, and because I am putting connected-world sharing above almost-perfect prose, I’ll make basic edits as I write but spend more time tonight and tomorrow fine-tuning my posts.
The conference, held in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Conference, features all sorts of digital life movers and shakers who offer information and guidance to parents, children, and educators.
One always has interesting first impressions at the beginning of any conference. Is it easy to get settled? Yes. Is the wifi ready and easy for us to use? Yes, and I am using it now. Are the people friendly and helpful? A definite yes. And finally, does the conference facility have a coat check? Yes! There’s nothing worse than toting around a coat all day during a conference. It remains to be seen if it will be easy to recharge my laptop when necessary, but I expect that will not be difficult either.
So now I get to excitedly anticipate the FOSI program. I await the panel on new research. I’m eager to hear from danah boyd (lower case intentional), especially about her upcoming book, It’s Complicated. (Editor’s Note: Even when I knew just a few of the many wonderful things about danah I was already a fan just because she attended the same university as my daughter.) Another author I’ll be interested to hear is Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose book, The Big Disconnect, is my current read and featured on the front of this blog.
The idea of spring cleaning each individual’s digital profile is terrific — something for parents and teachers to do themselves and then share with children.
Just like we tidy up our homes and our gardens in March, April, and May, it’s a good time to put our digital domiciles on the to-do list. Paying attention to the upkeep of our digital footprints and devices allows us to clean up and polish online images and minimize potential problems on our devices and gadgets. In the process, we learn a lot about ourselves, but also about the details that others can learn about us online.
Our vision for A Platform for Good is to start a dialogue about what it means to participate responsibly in a digital world. While recognizing the potential risks, we will celebrate technology as a vehicle for opportunity and social change.
The clean-up-your-digital-life mini-poster, available by link or download, asks each of us to take some time to dust off our online lives. Suggestions include ensuring that our passwords are strong, Googling ourselves to see what comes up from a search, and examining our devices to be sure that they are secure and up-to-date. The Platform for Good document also encourages individuals — adults and children — to evaluate the privacy settings on any social network accounts (many adults and children reside on these sites as if they are second homes or at least daily digital playgrounds).