One of my top tips for parents on how to manage and guide their family’s technology use is building a family phone contract. I am not talking about a list of rules. Kids will mindlessly sign anything to have that phone in their hands. I am talking about sitting down together and building a contract. By taking the time to create one together, parents can see what their child already knows and where there are some gaps in knowledge. This is a chance for everyone to share their ideas, their expectations as well as outline consequences. These contracts do not need to include every possible thing they may encounter from now until they graduate. It is important to focus on the now and update the contract every years as they grow and their use changes and they show they are reasonable.
Recently, I updated my contract and included some ideas for getting the digital conversation rolling. Below is my updated template for a phone contract 2015 and check out these other great contracts as well.
YouNow is part of the new live streaming trend. The best way to describe YouNow is Live TV with audience participation. Instead of passively watching a video, teens can watch their favorite performer or classmate broadcast live and message them questions or comments. The person responds to them immediately during the live broadcast. YouNow has over 100 million sessions a month. Scrolling through these live broadcasts, I saw many young faces.
Teens appear to dominate YouNow. While teens make up the majority of performers, anyone can watch the live broadcasts without registering. Simply, go to YouNow and click around to watch trending people and topics. It is only if someone wants to take part in the chat or broadcast themselves live do they need to sign up. Teens must sign up through their existing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ account. Once they sign up, they create their public profile and start broadcasting.
It is June and June is my January. This is when I look back over the past year and make plans for the next. I always kick off summer with a list of new projects. On my list this year, along with organizing photos, is revisiting our family phone contract. With my youngest starting middle school, we will be looking at a new phone and a new contract.
It is fitting that June is Internet Safety Month. NCSA and ConnectSafely are working together to offer tips and strategies for helping families managing technology use. “June is a great time to appreciate the warm weather and to consider how the season impacts our online lives. The Internet greatly enhances our summer experiences as we use technology to plan, enrich and share our activities,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “With some smart practices, you can help protect yourself, your family and the extended online community while using the Internet with greater confidence.”
Thankfully, they are a lot of great websites and books to help parents boost their digital parenting confidence. A few weeks ago, I published a list of some of my favorite websites. This week, I have put together a list of digital parenting books. This list is from my Pinterest board. Most of these I have read and a few are on my to read list. These books are full of tips and strategies for all ages. Celebrate Internet Safety Month by adding one of these to your summer reading list. (If you know of a great book I missed, send me the link and I will add it.)
Happy Internet Safety Month!
When I first started talking to elementary schools about digital citizenship, I rarely mentioned specific apps. With every year, I see more young kids with phones and tablets. So, I have added slides about Instagram and kik. While I understand why kids love these apps, these places are for people 13 years old and up. This is a tough environment to learn about digital citizenship where mistakes are easily shared and hard to erase.
A few weeks ago, I got chance to talk with Janel Patterson, a parent and CEO of Frienedy, who has created a better approach. She has designed a social network for all ages. Frienedy is for everyone and allows both parents and kids to create private social groups. These groups can center around family, friends, teams or classes. Within a group, members can share activities, photos, videos and documents. They can also post an event on a shared calendar as well as create a WishList for equipment and supplies.