Posted in cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, online safety, parent child conversations, parent education, parents and technology, teens and technology

Teens, Parent Anxiety, and the Internet

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Day after day frightening stories bombard us with warnings about what might happen to children and teens when they use the Internet and World Wide Web, so it’s useful to remind ourselves that these digital resources can provide our children with unparalleled opportunities to learn, socialize, and become active citizens. An article, Our Overblown Paranoia About the Internet and Teens, recently published in the online publication, Salon, provides just such a reminder.

Pediatrician Rahul Parikh, who practices in the San Francisco Bay area, points out that, despite all of our anxiety about teens and Internet risks, no statistics really exist to offer a full picture of the incidence of exposure to risk. Those few that do are often biased because of a common problem for research, posing questions to get the desired answer. Situations that do occur are often covered by a hysterical media, making us feel like a problem happens over and over, just around the corner. Continue reading “Teens, Parent Anxiety, and the Internet”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital parenting, electronic communication, parents and technology, social media, teens and technology

7 Ways Today’s Teens Communicate — Some Surprises

Check out this cool graphic from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

These graphs (click on the image to go to a larger picture at the Pew site) depict the various ways teens communicate. Notice how low e-mail ranks among the electronic forms of communication that today’s teens use. The data come from a survey of teens age 12 – 17 conducted as a part of the research for Pew’s report, Teens and Mobile Phones.

From the Pew Website

The graphic below shows daily use of a variety of communication technologies – and suggests that while text messaging as a daily activity for teens has grown astronomically over the past three years, other communicative technologies have remained relatively stable or have declined slightly, suggesting that the increase in texting has layered on top of the other modes of communication that teens employ.

Other Interesting Pew Internet Reports include Social Media and Young Adults and Teens and Sexting, both released in 2010.

Thanks to Pew for reminding me of this research via Twitter (@PewInternet).

Posted in acceptable use, American Academy of Pediatrics, digital citizenship, digital parenting, parent education, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Pediatricians, Parents, and Digital Kids, Part I

AAP Media History Form

This morning I was thrilled to read the newest American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy focusing on social media and children. The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families, written by a group of pediatricians and led by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe (also the author of CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Digital Kids in the World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media), provides a set of social media guidelines for physicians to use with teen and tween patients as well as with parents. Published in March 28, 2011 edition of the journal Pediatrics, the social media statement describes the benefits and risks of the digital world, avoids judgmental comments, and suggests strategies that can make is safer for children.

Continue reading “Pediatricians, Parents, and Digital Kids, Part I”

Posted in digital parenting, online safety, parents and technology, service-learning, technology support, teens and mentoring

Seniors, Cell Phones, and Teen Mentors

I saw this article, Want to Know What Your Cell Phone Can Do? Ask a Teenager, published in a Patch.com Reston,Virginia edition. It’s a wonderful story and presents an idea — students and seniors working together — that any family, school, or church group can easily replicate.

The article describes how middle and high school students, from the Reston, Virginia area, volunteered to be cell phone tutors with seniors, helping them learn how to use mobile phone features such as texting and checking voice mail. While many of the senior participants attending Cell Phone 101 had purchased phones for safety reasons, most were not able to use other phone capabilities. The student mobile phone mentors demonstrated how seniors could use their phone more effectively, and voicemail tutorials appeared to be especially popular. Students also explained how some of the phone capabilities cost extra money to use.

Continue reading “Seniors, Cell Phones, and Teen Mentors”

Posted in family conversations, healthy media images, media literacy, parent child conversations, parent education, resources to read, risky behavior

Conversations About Skins from Common Sense Media

As usual, Common Sense Media is right on top of the latest media/television family dilemma, and the website has published a short piece to help parents talk with their teenage children about the MTV program, Skins. In Tough Talk: How Parents Can Use MTV’S Skins As a Jumping Off Point, Liz Perle writes, “MTV’s teen drama Skins (a remake of the even edgier British series) showcases every behavior that keeps parents of teenagers up at night.” Perle suggests conversation pointers that can help parents begin conversations on these all too nerve-wracking topics. While these subjects keep parents in a perpetual state of jitters, teenagers confront many of the issues the issues on a daily basis — though honestly the show itself seems overly contrived. Check out the article.

The point is – and this is a Common Sense Media mantra (about page) — no matter how uncomfortable the topic may be, the most important thing is to work hard to keep the dialogue going throughout the challenging teenage years. The conversations, even if they don’t go as smoothly as a parent wishes, nevertheless help adolescent kids think about making better choices.

Posted in Back-to-school digital reading, cell phones, interesting research, parents and technology, teens and technology

Back-to-School Digital Reading Assignment, #3: Teen Cell Phones

For extra insight into the cell phone behavior of your preteen or teenager, take a few minutes to read these 2008 survey results from Harris Interactive, conducted with 2,098 teenagers in the United States. The survey was paid for by CTIA: The Wireless Association, an industry group.  The results appear to be as timely today as they were two years ago. The Marketing Charts website depicts the results with emphasis points. Another cell phone and teen research survey,  Teens, Cell Phones, and Texting, conducted more recently and published in April 2010 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, an organization independent of industry interests.

The survey results make it clear to all of us — parents and teachers — that mobile phones and smart phones continue to be influential in the world of pre-adolescents and teens and will probably become even more so in the future. These mini-gadgets are permanently anchored in their social lives — and in ours.

A few data highlights from the Harris survey are below. Check the websites for the bigger picture.

Harris Interactive Survey Highlights Include

Continue reading “Back-to-School Digital Reading Assignment, #3: Teen Cell Phones”