Want to learn a bit about the 21st Century students who are entering college right now and infer a bit about digital kids at other ages? Check out this year’s Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2018. This yearly list helps adults — parents and educators — recognize just how much our cultural frames of reference differ from those of our digital-age children, even if they may be younger than college freshmen.
Started in 1998 by two faculty members at Beloit, the list was originally created as a way for faculty and staff at the college to learn more about how easy it is for adults talk about things that they take for granted but that their students don’t know. The website includes links to past years’ lists.
Are your children going to sleep-away camp this summer?
If so, have fun reading this 2011, but still timely Chicago Tribune article, Welcome to Camp Tur-Ni-Toff, describing the lengths that sleep-away camps are going to preserve “their bucolic bubbles.” It sounds like the luckiest camps are those that do not have cell reception in the area. NOTE: The reporter points out that parents have more difficulty with the gadget prohibitions than do the campers.
My favorite quote:
The essence of camp is to rise and fall on your own … not to call your parents because you’re homesick or having a bad day,
My second favorite quote:
Even letters home are done with actual stamps and paper … a first for many of our campers.
If your children are using or begging to use the Snapchat app on their digital devices, the time has come for a conversation.
Kids love Snapchat because it makes them feel like they can have secrets, sharing them with others by choice, and occasionally venturing into out-of-bounds territory. They like it because it’s private. And they like it because everything self-destructs in a few seconds.
Well, not really disappear, because the digital footprints we make are never lost and are always lying around — often for a long time.
According to a New York Times article, Off the Record in a Chat App? Don’t Be Sure, the Federal Communications.Commission (FCC) has declared that Snapchat’s claims of disappearing messages and privacy are false. This is a good time to sit down with kids and review the situation — emphasizing that none of us has much privacy anymore, no matter what app makers claim. The privacy which many pre-adolescents and teens thought that they had, does not exist, according to Times reporter Jenna Wortham, who also goes into detail about the settlement with the FCC and the terms that Snapchat has agreed to.
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 →