Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Media, Techonology, and Parenting Dilemmas

Adults sometime describe teens as "Digital Natives" because they've grown up with social media in a way that my generation (gen-x, that is) did not.  Gen-Y /The Millennials (born 1981-2000) and Generation Z (awful name, they'll rename themselves, I'm sure)  have digital technologies surrounding them and take internet access as a given.  Yet the term Digital Native is fraught, for me, because it somehow presumes that kids will be acculturated appropriately simply through immersion. In fact, digital media is tied intimately with corporate control and does not constitute a culture so much as a hyper-planned-and-highly-profitable-gated-community (oh anthropologists among us, please give me the proper term!) as well as the foundation of opportunities for the emergence of new democracy. As parents and educators, we want to reap the best possible elements of new technologies while protecting our kids from significant invasions of privacy, cyberbullying, and brain-fragmentation.   Below is a collection of interesting articles & links - no definitive anything.  I think this topic could be great fodder for parents to come together around!

General Info 
  • PBS Digital Nation links for Parents and Teachers - includes streaming of their documentaries on growing up digital (we could watch together) - this site has all the links a person really needs
  • Pew Research on Social Media & Teens (2010)  
  • Common Sense Media on Teens and Social Media
  • MacArthur Foundation research on the benefits of teens time online - links to tons of resources as well
 Curriculum & Scaffolding for Teaching Media Literacy
Tools for Connecting Kids to Digital Media
Arguments for Reducing Kids Access / Exposure to Screens / Digital / Social Media


YTU said...

Hey thanks for mentioning my blog, parenting in the digital age, it's funny you list it as a protech blog, I am a parent of 2 kids and I don't actually think of myself as protech, more realistic tech. I hope I present a balanced view of technology that is research based, I definitely don't want to feed the flame of the fear that some parents feel about the Internet and all of the dangers. At the same time, balance is extremely important! Anyway, thanks!

Leisa Collins said...

Thanks for summarizing these resources, Kim! I have recently begun to think purposefully about how our family will support Aidan's learning with technology, and all of the things associated with digital literacy - safety, evaluating sites/resources online, balancing screen time with other activities, and later managing his own digital footprint, etc...he's not too young (as a 1st, almost 2nd grader) to begin this work.

I'd love to see the FSP community formalize and expand attention to digital literacy in our curriculum too. The use of technology as a learning, creativity, and communication tool obviously can't be ignored. We'd be doing our children a disservice beyond 8th grade to ignore this part of their education.

We teach our children to use many tools and live in many scenarios, and just like the others, there are some dangerous and frivolous uses of technology. Our responsiblity as parents and teachers to help them learn responsible behavior and share our values comes into play in this arena too. It's hard for parents whenever we have to deal with scenarios where children might choose risky behavior or be exposed to it, but I believe its our job to help children develop skills to deal with them.

Thanks again!

Kimberly Simmons said...

Leisa -- do you think there would be enough time/interest to have a bit of a study group? There is so much to learn...

Leisa Collins said...

Kim/Others - I would be happy to participate in a study group on this topic, whether this summer or when the new school year starts up!