Parents often ask for suggestions about the steps they can take to help their children develop stronger and more robust digital world skills. I often suggest that families use the time spent eating together at the dinner table to bring up and consider connected world topics. Most adults will recall that, as they grew up, dinner table conversations were a time when family members learned together, chatting about critical issues and challenges in the world, Today’s family mealtimes are just as important. Below are five topics that can encourage learning, lively discussion and improved decision making, all while eating a meal together.
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”→
Echo Dot must have seemed like a really good idea, at least to some people, but then the privacy concerns surfaced.
It appears that Echo Dot records what children say, saves that personal information, and apparently, it’s still saved even after parents delete It. A group of child advocacy organizations has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FCC), and they are supported in a detailed letter from a bipartisan group of United States Senators. Amazon insists that they need to collect the recordings to improve the device.
Um, all our kids’ comments and ideas stored for posterity — I mean Amazon? Growing kids say lots of things that they quickly realize they shouldn’t have said. Ask any teacher. Those archived recordings may contain comments that most parents did not even know their kids say. Just imagine the out-of-this-world corporate data trove provided by all those children. Whatever happened to COPPA?
Every day, it seems, we hear of another hack of credit cards or the theft of personal data from health records. It’s difficult to keep track of it all, much less protect passwords (are yours secure?), various accounts for home and work, personal information and so much more. Yet it’s not just hackers. Many legitimate companies collect and share personal data, and they do it without an individual’s consent. It seems like more and more companies are cavalier about the privacy of their customers.
Now Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced federal privacy legislation that aims to protect American consumers’ personal information by proposing a Privacy Bill of Rights. Senate Bill would establish a set of clear rules that specify how companies can use personal information and what they can and cannot do. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would have the authority to make and enforce rules.
Various types of digital devices and toys are now a given in the lives of many children — even toddlers and preschoolers. From three and four years of age, many of their play activities include a vast array of toys and books that talk, beep, sing, cue activity, and play music. Even two-year-olds quickly learn how to use digital devices — after all they are generally adept at figuring out cause and effect and how to operate buttons.
The moment children begin to hold or play with digital devices of any kind is the time for parents and adult mentors to begin introducing three important digital life concepts — privacy, fairness, and respecting images. These three connected-life values, introduced early and reinforced regularly, contribute to a child’s long-term digital wellness. The three concepts create a knowledge base that supports decision-making as a child grows older, uses more powerful digital tools, and faces increased peer pressure. Continue reading “Three Concepts that Build a Foundation for Digital Wellness & Health”→
Today a person’s personal information is a commodity, and privacy is a struggle to maintain. I want to stop (or at least slow down) Facebook, Google and all their advertisers (not to mention Cambridge Analytica) from vacuuming up my information.
What will it take to make adolescents and teens understand that what they do just about anywhere is not private — even if it’s digital and feels like a limited number of others will know? Perhaps we are about to find out.
Harvard University recently rescinded acceptances from ten or more incoming students who formed a “private” Facebook page and traded sexually explicit and disgusting memes about kids, women, and people of color. Putting aside the loathsome behavior — just for a moment — why on earth would these young people consider any Facebook group or any other online group to be private, even if it has private in its name?
Crimson reporter Hannah Natanson writes:
In the group students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups…