How to Tell Your Kids About the Size of the Connected World

Do you ever wish you could amaze the digital kids in your life with statistics or fun facts about the connected world? Would you like to explain a few things – in simple terms – about the extreme size of the connected world? Well, now you can.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.35.47 AMIf you enjoy talking about really big numbers, take a few minutes to check out some Internet statistics over at the live stats site. A counter keeps track of the growing number of users, increasing second-by-second. Additional charts depict users year-by-year, beginning in 1993 and continuing to 2014. Several more pie charts group data by country and region.

Another way to describe the Internet is to think about the activities that people do when they go on-line. Royal Pingdon, a company that collects statistics for company websites, posts all sorts of cool facts. One of their blog posts, Internet 2012 in Numbers, shares some numbers that demonstrate the size and scope of the Internet. I haven’t seen the 2013 statistics summary, but 2012 is interesting enough. For instance:          Continue reading

Are Parents Confident About Managing Kids’ Technology Use?

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Visit the FOSI site to look at the digital parenting report as well as the results of other research.

attended the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2014 annual conference last week and was captivated by the results of the organization’s new digital parenting research — a national survey conducted by Hart Research Associates — with randomly selected parents of children, ages 6 – 17. The participants’ children needed to be Internet users and have access to technology devices. FOSI commissioned the research to identify digital parenting trends — the challenges, benefits, and potential harm that parents worry about as they observe their 21st Century children using technology of effortlessly. You can read the entire report, and on the same page you can also see the slide presentation that attendees saw during the conference. Continue reading

Back-to-School Digital Life Conversation Starters

b8dbf690fa0c8bea11_ahm6b34k7Check out an interesting graphic filled with back-to-school digital life conversation starters over at the Platform for Good website. You can also download a PDF with a larger image to post at home near a work area or on the refrigerator.

August and September are good months to think about family digital citizenship issues. Ask yourself and your kids questions such as:

  • How can we balance screen time with outside time?
  • How can we model best practices for one another?
  • How can we keep track of our digital footprints and our digital reputations?
  • Should we use one of the many digital contracts and agreements in our family?

Continue reading

10 Family Digital Projects for Summer

Take some time this summer to collaborate on digital projects that accomplish, organize, and communicate. As a bonus these projects build in connected world conversations and help parents learn much more about the digital world that children take for granted, but remember that generational collaboration is key.               

  •  Start a family blog or construct a family website (Weebly or Google Sites). Decide what family members will have access — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — and invite them to help with content. Ask lots of extended family members to contribute.scratch_logo
  • Teach yourselves a bit about coding. If no one in your family knows much about the topic, MIT Scratch (free download or use the website) offers a basic graphical coding introduction. Scratch is easy and user-friendly, and you and your children can have fun designing mini-video games.
  • Organize the family’s digital photos. Adults and kid picture-takers can get together a few times to download, sort, label, and back-up the photos on all of the digital devices in the the house. Think about turning some of the picture albums into picture books or calendars (gifts or mementos) at sites like iPhoto/iTunes, Shutterfly, or Blurb. Consider uploading some of these pictures to a digital frame and give it to a grandparent as a gift.
  • Help a senior citizen or elder in your family or community to become more confident on a computer mobile phone, or iPad.  Check out the iPad for Dad series over at AsOurParentsAge. Or help them learn more about the scams that cause so many problems for elders.

Other Activities Might Include  Continue reading

Educate Family Members About Digital Scams With Snopes.com

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Visit Snopes.com.

A week does not go by without students and parents asking me about an Internet scam, a circulating chain mail, a digital rumor, or a wild web story. And on a fairly regular basis, someone — always a good reliable kid or a terrific and reliable parent — forwards a digital missive that initially seems somewhat innocuous, silly, or sarcastic but then unleashes a virus or malware. Sometimes for children the strange digital content causes social problems.

To learn more about the unusual stories that circulate on the web, I suggest that 21st Century parents introduce Snopes.com to family members as soon as each individual begins using online communication and digital devices. We all need to learn how to consult Snopes resources and navigate around the site for helpful information — the true and reliable info — when strange and unusual content beckons.       Continue reading