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.

handout image 2
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 Learning, 21st Century parenting, brain, parents and technology

Multi-tasking May Be a Myth Says John Medina

brain-rules-cover-172In today’s always-connected world we feel proud of our ability to do several things at once, and many adults are even more amazed as they watch their children managing multiple tasks at the same time.

It turns out, however, that we may need to rearrange the way we work, reconsider our understanding of multi-tasking, and rethink how we supervise children when they are attending to learning activities. According to Professor John Medina, a respected molecular biologist and author of the 2008 book, Brain Rules, the brain cannot multitask efficiently. Multi-tasking during homework times may decrease a 21st Century student’s ability to learn efficiently.

Medina’s book, an entertaining read, discusses 12 important brain rules and devotes one chapter to multitasking. Addressing the widely accepted view that in the digital age we all multi-task effectively, Dr. Medina explains why the brain has trouble with multi-tasking and why this practice can cause difficulty for learners, workers, and especially for pre-teens and adolescents. Many entertaining video explanations of the 12 brain rules are posted on his website.                                                          Continue reading “Multi-tasking May Be a Myth Says John Medina”

Posted in acceptable use, cell phones, digital citizenship, digital parenting, parents and technology, setting technology limits

Taming the Technology Gadget Obsession at Home

Today with everyone connected all of the time, families need to think about scheduling disconnect time at home. Recently I read that, before cabinet meetings at the White House, the president requires attendees to leave phones and Blackberries in a basket by the door. Without interruptions from communication devices, people can concentrate on the conversation and on the important issues. Most importantly, cabinet members are able to listen to each other without distractions.

Can your dining room be gadget-free during meals?

Families, too, need uninterrupted communication time. Parents may want to develop home guidelines that mirror cabinet meeting expectations. The Pew Internet and American Life Project offers wide-ranging information setting sensible mobile phone and texting limits.

Family meals are the perfect time to disconnect phones and Blackberries. Increasingly, pediatricians and other family researchers believe that regular, all-family mealtimes provide children with a range of advantages. To improve communication and interaction, each person can turn off the ringer and deposit his or her phone in a location away from the table, preferably in another room. Dinner table conversation can proceed uninterrupted so family members will listen more carefully to one another. Make the dining room a gadget-free zone during meal times.

Continue reading “Taming the Technology Gadget Obsession at Home”

Posted in digital parenting, good books to read, homework time, learning and the brain, parents and technology

Multi-tasking is a Myth, Researcher John Medina Maintains

Many of us may need to rearrange the way we work, reconsider our understanding of multi-tasking, and rethink how we supervise our children during homework time. According to Professor John Medina, the brain cannot multitask efficiently.

Dr. Medina, a respected molecular biologist who teaches at the University of Washington, published Brain Rules in 2008, and his book spent many weeks on the New York Times best seller list. In this entertaining read he discusses 12 important brain rules with one chapter devoted to multitasking. Addressing the widely accepted view that in the digital age we all multi-task effectively, Dr. Medina explains why the brain has trouble with multi-tasking and why this practice can cause trouble for learners, workers, and especially for pre-teens and adolescents. Many entertaining video explanations of the 12 brain rules are posted at his website. Continue reading “Multi-tasking is a Myth, Researcher John Medina Maintains”