In my years as a teacher and parent (now with a with a young adult child), I’ve seen lots of public service announcements that focus on improved parenting, better health, preventing substance abuse, and the like.
Strange screen names seem to pop up in the summer more than any other time of the year.
The best screen names are boring. In a virtual world, where even a nuanced word association can invite unfortunate behavior, taking care when choosing these online names is critical. The easiest solution is to use a first name, nickname, or a different name, perhaps paired with numbers at the beginning or end. Many years ago I used 29Marti1607, a name that attracted little attention except once when someone asked me if my ancestors had lived in colonial Jamestown (settled in 1607).
Children experiment with edgy screen names as one way to look and feel cool, and as they get older, their choices often push limits, unintentionally drawing attention. A suggestive name in any number of categories can encourage the people who interact with your child — even people who are friends — to behave impulsively in the web world where adult supervision is minimal. It is way too easy for two-way communication to go awry.
If you think about using some type of product to monitor your child’s online activities and safety, the Mashable blog has just published information about four digital tools that may help you understand more about these types of products. Notice I use the word “may” because on the web nothing is for sure. The services, all with monthly payments, alert parents when something questionable is discovered, so they do more than simply monitor a home network.
The blog posting, written by Sarah Kessler and originally published by MyLife Scoop blog, refers to a Yahoo family surveyfinding that more than 70% of parents take at least some action to manage/monitor/limit their children’s online activities and presence. Check out what Kessler has to say about these four monthly subscription services.
Dr. Lee directly addresses parents about virtual connections while driving.
Most of us would never drink and drive in front of our kids, race other cars, or even start the engine without buckling up first. Why then would we set a bad example for our children by texting behind the wheel? Though they may deny it, we have a much greater influence over our teens’ behavior than they let on. If you practice safe driving, there’s a far better chance your teenager will as well. ‘Do as I say, not as I text’ isn’t just hypocritical, it’s dangerous.
The beginning of a school year is a good time for families to set limits, explain rules, and in general, clarify expectations about technology use. Getting started in the fall, when everyone is off to a new grade and a fresh beginning, encourages healthy technology habits.
Depending on the age of your children, you may want to accomplish some or even all of the tasks on this list, encouraging everyone to think responsibly and become committed digital citizens.
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.
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.
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.