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?

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.50.05 PM

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

Summer Camps Cut Back on Technology

gadget-camp1Are 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.

Read the entire Tribune article.

Have A Chat If Your Child Uses SnapChat

Visit Snapchat.

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.

Also take a look at the FCC’s memo, aptly titled Snapchat Settles FTC Charges That Promises of Disappearing Messages Were False. It states:                        Continue reading