The Right Age for a Smartphone? Interesting NY Times Article

os7iphone-2Take a few minutes to read What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone? by Brian X Chen. The July 20, 2016 New York Times article includes interviews with Internet Safety experts and contains some advice from other parents.

The Take-aways? (Well, we know most of this, but reminders are always useful.)                      Continue reading

Getting Your Child a Cell Phone This Summer? Read This First!

It’s summer 2013…

…and lots of families will soon purchase a new mobile phone for a fifth, sixth, or seventh grade child.

cell phoneRemember, however, you are not just handing over a telephone. A child is getting a mini-computer — a digital device  that takes pictures, shares locations, communicates via text, e-mail, and phone calls, and easily installs apps that connect in all sorts of other ways. A new cell phone networks your child in nearly unlimited ways to the entire world, and most of what he or she sends on the web via cell phone will never be deleted.

Before handing over the new mobile device, 21st Century parents need to think about how they want digital kids to use their new prized possessions and also about what they don’t want children to do.

Adults can be specific and clear about what is acceptable by setting up a cell phone user contract. Use an agreement word-for-word from the list of links on this blog. Or copy one of the contracts as a template and write a more personalized version that is appropriate for your family. Today’s kids are 21st Century learners, eager to use and explore the digital world — a great way to be — but parents need to set clear expectations that help to ensure that a child explores and experiments as much as possible without humiliation and  embarrassment.            Continue reading

40 Really Cool Tips for iPhone Users

emojis

The emoji keyboard has several icon screens.

iPhones seem to have unlimited features to tweak. Since I have owned iPhones for more than four years, I tend to believe I am pretty expert about using them.

Then I read this Christian Science Monitor article, 40 iPhone Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know, and discovered that I still have quite a few cool new things to learn. The February 2012 report, by Megan Riesz, Eoin O’Carroll, and Chris Gaylord, includes a few far-fetched suggestions that I will never do — in my case some the ideas for tweaking Siri — but it also includes several iPhone tweaks that I’ve already added as I was making my way through the 40 tips.

A Few of My Favorites

  1.   Create an “app “out of a website that you visit a lot.
  2.   Take better pics with HDR photography.
  3.  Install the “emojis” keyboard with lots of little pics and icons — especially nice for texting.
  4.  Take a screen shot on the iPhone.

 

QR CodeTutorial: Updated Post With Illustrations

QR Code Parents

This QR code leads to a digital parenting wiki site that my colleagues and I created for our NAIS workshop.

QR Codes. You’ve probably seen them around — on everything from cereal boxes to magazines to advertising banners on the bus or in the subway.

QR is short for quick resource code (QR code), the scannable geometric-looking design that connects a person via smartphone to digital information such as an e-mail site, a video, a website, or even a telephone number. QR codes are similar to bar codes, but the QR image contains far more encoded information — thousands of times more, in fact. Learn more about QR codes at the Common Craft video tutorial site.

A QR code is essentially a shortcut that leads to digitized information. It might be, for instance, at the end of a book chapter, linking the reader to more content on a topic, or on a billboard. It could link conference attendees to a workshop handout or schedule. Continue reading

All About QR Codes

QR Code Parents

This QR code leads to a digital parenting wiki site that my colleagues and I created.

QR Codes. You’ve probably seen them around — on everything from cereal boxes to magazines to advertising banners on the bus or in the subway.

QR is short for quick resource code (QR code), the scannable geometric-looking design that connects a person via smartphone to digital information such as an e-mail site, a video, a website, or even a telephone number. QR codes are similar to bar codes, but the QR image contains far more encoded information — thousands of times more, in fact. Learn more about QR codes at the Common Craft video tutorial site.

A QR code is essentially a shortcut that leads to digitized information. It might be, for instance, at the end of a book chapter, linking the reader to more content on a topic, or on a billboard. It could link conference attendees to a workshop handout or schedule.      Continue reading

New Pew Report on Teens and Technology 2013

Growing internet use by teens and other age groups, too.

Growing internet use by teens and other age groups, too.

If you are an educator who teaches teenagers or a parent of adolescents, check out this newest research release — Teens and Technology, 2013 —  from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The survey results come from interviews with 802 adolescents between the age of 12 – 17 and separate interviews with their parents, conducted over the phone in English and Spanish.

If you have any doubts about how fast digital life is changing for young people, this should dispel many of them.

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
  • 25% say they mostly use their phone online.

Most Interesting Quote

One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

Schools must find ways to incorporate phones into the 21 Century learning paradigm.

Lots More People are Using Smartphone Location Services

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just published new survey results finding that 74% of smartphone owners — that’s three-quarters — appear to be using location services on their phones.

This statistic is double what it was when Pew conducted a similar survey in May 2011. The increase in location services occurs despite privacy concerns about tracking and data collection. Check out the report to look at the data by age, gender, and ethnic group, depicted in a range of charts and graphs.

I am still minimizing or turning off the number of location services that I use on my phone. While some of us use more location services than others on our smartphones, it’s critical for parents to know how location services work and how to limit access on the phones that their children around each day. Many apps ask to turn on location services during the installation process.

Do you know about Foursquare ? If it’s on an adolescent’s cell phone a parent needs to learn about it. Find out more about location services by reading a post that I wrote about location services, Location, Location, Location – Services that Is.

Each adult needs to figure out how much privacy is necessary or desired in his or her digital life and also in the digital lives of children. People seeking one right answer won’t find it, however it’s best to take the time to understand the devices that family members carry and apps that they use.