Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital change, digital life, digital parenting, education not fear, Facebook, parents and technology, risky behavior, social media, supervising digital kids, values in digital life

On Digital Parenting Fear, Part #2 – We Must Know More About Kids’ Digital Lives

fear-riskIn our connected world unfamiliar activities make adults worry about kids, and violent and exploitative events, some connected to the digital world, make us fear for our children’s safety. This past week two events, a 13-year-old’s ruthless murder that was associated with online app interactions and a Wall Street Journal article, Cyberthieves Have a New Target: Children, made many of us wonder, once again, whether the digital world is degrading the quality of our lives.

Cybertheives PM

For me the week reinforced the importance of parents understanding what their children are up to on digital devices. It’s a serious responsibility, it requires enormous time and energy, and we cannot hire outside experts to do it for us. The work requires every parenting skill that we’ve ever developed and more, and if you are not up to it you need to consult a parent education organization, such as the Parenting Encouragement Program (PEP) in my area, that offers training to parents. Continue reading “On Digital Parenting Fear, Part #2 – We Must Know More About Kids’ Digital Lives”

Posted in communicating with grandparents, digital learning, digital literacy, parents and technology, social media, social networking, technology changes

Senior Family Members Expand Social Media Access – With Kids’ Help

Those of us with seniors and elders in our families know how important it is, in this digital age, to ensure that children communicate with grandparents, older relatives, and even elder family friends.

In many families, grandparents and other senior relatives benefit and gain more technology skill with the help of their digital-age grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Once a family senior gets immersed in intergenerational digital communication, he or she often wants even more connections — at first more contact with younger family members and then with … the world.

pew-internet-aging-social-networkingInterestingly, only a few years ago most seniors were satisfied with e-mail communication or the occasional video to watch. Not anymore. Today a growing number of people over 65 are enthusiastically latching on to social networking sites and using them on a fairly regular basis, and these numbers are growing.

This amazing graph depicts the percentage of adults at various ages who used social media sites over seven years, and it demonstrates how fast the use of these sites is increasing for all age groups, but especially for seniors.

Published in the Pew Internet’s July 2012 report on Older Adults and Internet Use, the information in the image comes from a Pew survey that collected data between March 2005 and February 2012.

Note the growth for the 50-64 age group and the over 65 age group (data that could hardly be detected back in 2005) over the years of the survey. Moreover, the social networking adoption percentage numbers for people 50 and older picked up a lot of steam, between July and November 2008.

Bottom line? Many more older adults are signing up and using social media sites, and their numbers are continuing to increase. One way that young family members can be especially helpful is to be on the lookout for seniors relatives who can use extra support as they learn more about living lives in the digital world.

The French essayist Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) wrote, “To teach is to learn twice.” Children relearn and review their own digital world lessons when they teach senior family members about learning and communicating in today’s always connected world. It doesn’t matter whether they are helping with privacy issues, teaching a senior to understand a cell phone, or demonstrating the many other virtual world tasks that a grandparent or elder relative might need to know. In helping that older family member learn something new, the child refocuses on the lesson.

That’s pretty cool for everyone involved.

Posted in cell phones, communicating with grandparents, family conversations, gadget ownership, online communication

Grandma’s iPhone

Over Easter weekend we’ll help my parents learn how to use Skype.

When it comes to her iPhone, few learning difficulties have popped up for my mom, age 84. I am delighted at the ease with which she has transferred from her old flip phone to this one — a 3G that I retired when I updated my iPhone.

How Mom is Using her iPhone

  • Her first lesson focused on typing in her contacts, and she caught on right away and also understands how to make a call using the contacts app.
  • The visual cues on the iPhone screen are terrific.
  • She loves being able to sit in a comfortable chair and play solitaire — no lessons required for this!
  • She enjoys using the speaker feature rather than holding the phone up to her ear.
  • She likes to use Safari anytime and anywhere when she wants to look something up, though like me, she is sometimes frustrated when the phone is slower because there is no wi-fi.
  • She is starting to use the map app.

Continue reading “Grandma’s iPhone”

Posted in digital parenting, grandparents, parents and technology, social media friends, social networking

Kids, Tech, Social Media, and Grandparents!

Read about my daughter and her grandmother on Facebook.

Great article in the Wall Street Journal about kids and grandparents and the ways they are communicating with one another. In her May 9, 2001 article, OMG! My Grandparents R My BFF!, reporter Molly Baker takes readers on a “magical mystery tour” highlighting the ways generations are interacting (and sometimes leaving out the generation in the middle).

Last August I wrote about this digital family experience in a post, Yes! Grandma is on Facebookon my other blog, As Our Parents Age. Below is an excerpt of a post about my daughter and her grandmother.

Join Facebook?  For three years I avoided the site. I knew that some of my friends from work, church, and other activities were joining, but I just did not feel like it was a fit. My daughter, then in graduate school, used the social networking site, and she occasionally suggested I get started with Facebook. Still I refrained.

Continue reading “Kids, Tech, Social Media, and Grandparents!”

Posted in acceptable use, cultural changes, digital parenting, family conversations, parent child conversations, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Grandma/Grandkids Use Facebook: Do You?

Join Facebook?  For three years I avoided the site. I knew that some of my friends from work, church, and other activities were joining, and of course the kids at school were all over it, but I just did not feel like it was a fit. Way too different, I thought. My daughter, then in graduate school, used the social networking site, and she occasionally suggested I get started with Facebook (she spoke these words in bold). Still I refrained.

At some point, however, I became aware that my mother and my twenty-something daughter were communicating with each other more than usual. They knew things about each other that I did not know. Finally my daughter mentioned that her grandmother  — my mother — was on Facebook and that the two of them had “friended’ one another. That’s when I called Mom, at that time age 81. She explained that her fellow workers from the Obama campaign, exceptional young people she called them, had arranged virtual reunions on Facebook. They wanted her to participate and helped her get started.

So, like many of today’s parents, I found that I was in the middle, but basically out of the generational communication loop. By the time I tuned in, my mother had over 100 friends, all people she knew in one way or another (no strangers and privacy settings in place, she reassured me), and quite a few in her age-range. I signed up for Facebook.

Continue reading “Grandma/Grandkids Use Facebook: Do You?”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Grandparents Are on Social Networks!

According to a December 15, 2010 USA Today article, people over age 65 are the fastest growing group of social networking users. Seniors Surge on Social Networks, by Janis Lloyd, described Generations 2010 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a report that examines the variation in Internet and social networking experiences among various age groups.

For adult children whose parents are older seniors, the Pew report presents fascinating data. “While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.” This change occurred between 2008 and 2010. What a great way for digital native grandchildren to interact with their grandparents.

The USA Today article also points out that the U.S. Administration on Aging has released a guide to help older people learn about life online, from joining social networks to hooking up to Skype and exploring Google.

You might enjoy reading this blog posting from a few months ago when I wrote about discovering how my  mother, in her early 80’s, was using Facebook.