Posted in acceptable use, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parent child conversations

Family Conversations on Digital Life

The Seattle Times recently published Ways for Parents to Ease the Tussle With Teens over Tech Use. The January 27, 2012 article, by Julie Weed, reviews the challenges of digital parenting and suggests five digital life ground rules, including setting up a technology/gadget evening curfew.

Read the entire article.

Posted in digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, family conversations, parents and technology, Screen-Free Week, setting technology limits, teaching digital kids

Screen Free Week — for Schools, Churches, and Families

Take the Screen Free Week Challenge!

Every year the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sponsors Screen Free Week. 

The April 30-May 6, 2012 week-long activity, which for years was a turn-off-the-TV event, aims to encourage children and their families (and yes, adults with their digital devices), to be less dependent on activities in front of screens, encouraging all of us to consider other types of activities such as reading, playing outside, board games and exercise.

The point of Screen-Free Week is not to forget about digital activities, stop doing homework, and ignore the work that needs to be accomplished each day. Rather it’s a time to think carefully about the digital screen logjam in our lives and consider just how much time we are spending in front of  TV, computers, iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, and other gadgets — and whether some of that time is better used for other things.

Just about everyone needs to come up with strategies to balance screen time activities with the rest of our lives, perhaps adding a bit more variation and creativity to our daily endeavors. But the week can also be a time to think about the quality of life. We should be asking ourselves, “How can we use our devices to learn and collaborate more, and are there ways they might help us grown into more productive citizens?”

The organization’s website describes the week as a celebration. Continue reading “Screen Free Week — for Schools, Churches, and Families”

Posted in gadgets of convenience, parents and technology

No More Overheated Laptop — Best New Gadget Support!

If you are at all like me, you use a laptop much of the time while it’s sitting — well —  in your lap. Problem is, they get hotter and hotter the longer we work, and eventually, it’s downright uncomfortable, not to mention bad for the computer. If I put the laptop on a pillow, my usual solution, it still gets hot and so does the pillow, which can’t be good.

For Christmas, in a package that claimed to be from Steve Jobs <grin>, I received a Targus Lap Chill Mat Notebook fan, and it has solved the heat problem. When I work, the flat plastic  fan sits on my lap underneath my laptop and connects, via USB, to my Macbook. As soon as it’s connected, the fan comes on, circulating air underneath the laptop and no heat accumulates. It’s a miracle!
Continue reading “No More Overheated Laptop — Best New Gadget Support!”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, electronic communication, gadget ownership, parents and technology

Why People Purchase SmartPhones for Themselves (and their Kids?)

The December 6, 2011 ComScore Data Mine features this interesting data chart that graphs the reasons that people purchase smartphones. The leading reason?
People appreciate the convenience of smartphone ownership. Is staying in instant communication with kids one of these conveniences?

The challenge for parents when they purchase these gadgets for kids?  Balancing appropriate use with convenience. Read the MediaTechParenting family mobile phone contract.

Check out graph and explanation at the ComScore site.

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, iPhones and iPads, parents and technology

Kids’ Cell Phones? Who’s in Charge Here?

Made at

Read You Make the Call on Kids’ Phones in the Sunday, November 27, 2011 Washington Post. Written by columnist Michelle Singletary and aimed at the parents of digital kids, the article examines the practice of giving children cell phones at younger and younger ages. The author believes that, in reality, cell phones are simply playful gadgets that easily confuse children about the difference between needing things and wanting things.

Most Compelling Thoughts from the Article

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, distracted driving, gadget ownership, parents and technology

BMW PSA: Cell Phones, Texting, and Distracted Driving

Click here to watch the video on YouTube or watch below.

In my years as a teacher and parent (now with a with a young adult child), I’ve seen lots of public service announcements that focus on improved parenting, better health, preventing substance abuse, and the like.

However, I’ve never watched one with the impact and shock quality of this distracted driving video PSA, produced by BMW (see below) and released in June. Read a short report about the video at Auto News. BMW also put out a press release in, BMW Launches National Campaign Against Distracted Driving in Time for the Summer Driving Season.

Bravo BMW!

Continue reading “BMW PSA: Cell Phones, Texting, and Distracted Driving”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, electronic communication, iPhones and iPads, parents and technology

Keeping Gadgets Working When the Power Goes Off

Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

How does one keep mobile devices working during some type of emergency?

It’s been an eventful week here in Northern Virginia. On Tuesday we had an earthquake, 5.8 on the Richter magnitude scale, shaking lots of things at home and work to the floor. Almost immediately, on Wednesday, we began making preparations for Hurricane Irene, the largest of its kind to move up the east coast of the United States in more than 50 years. In both cases, it’s been harder than usual to count on gadgets like mobile phones, iPads, tablets, and laptops.

For more than an hour after the earthquake, making mobile phone calls was difficult, though I found I was able to text easily. Now, during hurricane Irene (I am sitting by a window watching the rain fall in sheets), I worry about maintaining the battery charge of each gadget as long as possible, since the power is sure to go out at some point. Of greater concern is that, with millions of people losing power, it may take some time to get the power restored. Preservation becomes even more of a concern.

Continue reading “Keeping Gadgets Working When the Power Goes Off”