Some Kids May Wish That Social Media Had Never Been Invented…

Children, at least some of them, may be getting tired of social lives dominated by social media.

An October 5, 2017, article in The Guardian, Growing Social Media Backlash Among Young People, Survey Shows, describes the results of a United Kingdom study about social networking. After surveying 5,000 students, researchers found that nearly 63 percent of young respondents are  “…disillusioned with the negative aspects of the technology, such as online abuse and fake news.”  This makes me wonder how children in other countries might respond to the same question. Continue reading

Possible Regulation for Social Media Companies?

Click on this image to go to MarketPlace and listen to the report.

Is there a possibility that government regulations may be in the future for  social media companies?

In the last ten years we’ve watched social media companies sprout up again and again. Some are enormously successful while others debut with great fanfare, only to fade into the background.

Social media organizations are often careless enforcers of their own community behavior rules and content guidelines, and they seem clueless about the need to educate users about media literacy. Moreover, many companies don’t understand enough about how 21st Century users can (and will) manipulate social media platforms. As a result, problems keep occurring — quite a few of them unanticipated.      Continue reading

9 Suggestions to Help Families Think About Digital Device Moderation

Designed using images from the Apple website.

Designed using images from the Apple website.

I love my iPhone and iPad, and I cannot do many things without them. For children under 13, however, use time should be carefully monitored by each family. Kids today are playing independently with powerful devices, and they — the devices and the children — are not intended to interact in isolation and for long periods without adult supervision.

An article that provides food for thought, Your Phone Verses Your Heart, appeared in the March 23, 2013 New York Times. Also, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics media resources — the pediatricians are making recommendations because they know what they are talking about.

Just today I asked a group of device-savvy fifth graders, most around age 10, if they know anything about SnapChat, the app that deletes pictures in one to ten seconds (leaving plenty of time for a recipient with poor judgement to take a screen shot and save the photo). Just about every hand went up. During a lesson a few months ago I asked them how many of them know how to make a screenshot — and they can all do it in a lot less than ten seconds. Read my SnapChat review here.

A Few Social Media Supervision Suggestions            Continue reading

Just How Much Social Media Is There?

Click on the image to visit Gary’s Social Media Counter.

Have you ever wondered about how much social media interaction occurs in the digital world at any given point in time? Recently I discovered an excellent social media teaching and learning tool that helps people gaze into always-changing world of social media content.

Over at PersonalizedMedia.com, blogger Gary P. Hayes offer a living widget with algorithms that track the approximate number of interactions in a range of social media categories — all in real time. He’s also turned his counter into an iPad app.

Visit Social Media Counts — a living statistical chart originally published in 2009 but upgraded in 2011 and 2012 — and start counting the moment you open the page. The site offers a progressive snapshot of what’s occurring in the social media universe as time moves along. It continues counting until a visitor closes the web page, and it starts counting again if the page is reloaded or if a user clicks the “now button.”

Leave the page up on your browser, come back a while later, and gaze in wonder at the growing statistics. Users can also click on the day, week, or month buttons to see different, and more massive social media statistics.

Continue reading

Looking into Our Kids’ Futures: Will Social Media Be There?

If you missed this set of essays, Is Facebook a Fad? Will Our Children Tweet?, published in the June 19, 2012, New York Times, take some time to read these short pieces on social media and contemporary life.

As a part of a regular Times’ feature, Room for Debate opinion, readers can learn what six knowledgeable media commentators think about the always evolving digital world.

For instance, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle describes the tendency of social media users to “hide” from one another, substituting quick text nuggets for what used to be face-to-face interaction. Morra Aarons Mele, a digital manager and founder of Women Online, acknowledges the communication downsides, but says that social media and the digital professional work it has created make the world more egalitarian.           Continue reading

Getting to Know Instagram – Links to Bring Adults Up to Speed

In a matter of weeks last spring quite a few older elementary and middle school children whom I know jumped on the Instragram bandwagon, and they continue to have fun with it. The social networking photography app, now owned by Facebook, lives on their wireless devices, making it easy to use without getting encumbered with computers.

The minimum age for the Instagram app is 13, but that hasn’t stopped the site from attracting many children younger than that. While I tend to be someone who takes age requirements seriously, many parents, after checking out various sites, are more comfortable than I am with letting their children use sites when they are a bit younger than 13 years of age.

The biggest challenge for adults is keeping an eye on the content and quality of the photos that their children are uploading to Instagram. Problems can occur when children err in judgement as they make decisions about what to share (and what not to share).

In any event, all of us — parents, teachers, and any other adults in children’s lives — need to learn more about Instagram. I’ve added the app to my phone and plan to get acquainted with it. The list of articles below offers parents and teachers lots of information  — how Instagram works and how children socialize when they use the social networking app with their friends.         Continue reading

Summer, Social Media, and Digital-Age Parenting

Read the research here.

Summer is a good time for parents to learn more about the social media activities of their children, developing additional skill and more understanding about what’s happening in the digital whirl that is a huge part of kids’ social lives.

A 2011 Pew Internet and American Life Project report, Teens, Kindness, and Cruelty on Social Networking Sites, noted that 95% of children ages 12 – 17 are  online, many on social networking sites. Since that Pew report was published, media sources report that children several years younger than 12 are also using social media. Read the NPR piece, Social Networks: Thinking of the Children. Children continue to need guidance and limits-setting from their parents.

The goal is not to prevent children from exploring — that’s not realistic. Instead, parents need to gather enough information to be able to keep an eye on activities, facilitate discussions when required, and intervene when it’s necessary to insulate their kids from impulsive digital behavior on computers, smartphones, and tablets.        Continue reading