For many parents, raising a child from birth to adulthood in this era of the Internet and all things digital is a daunting prospect. To help make this transition, the PBS video, Growing Up Online, is an excellent introduction on what it means to be coming of age in the Internet era.
From a different perspective, Mike Ribble has written a book for parents to help guide them in Raising a Digital Child. Click here for an excerpt about determining your digital compass. Additionally, he outlines the nine elements of a digital citizen. This book is available from the MPA Library.
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens by Nancy Willard is designed to help young people and their parents learn to use the Internet safely and responsibly. It is available through the Middle School Office.
Some additional parent resources are found at Common Sense Media
. Sign up for an account and connect with others at MPA to find reviews or information about a variety of media. Grade by Grade
guides for media activities help parents to make informed decisions. Download the 5-6th grade guide here.
The FTC has launched Netcetera, a fee downloadable publication about
Cybersafety. It's aimed at parents and teachers, and offers good common sense
information and advice. They will also send out free printed copies in English
or Spanish. No scare tactics or sensationalism and you can get it directly from
The site, GetNetWise, is a wealth of information for parents about kids' safety, spam and security and provides links to products and services.
Say Yes to No
for parents is a site for programs and services to help parents become
more adept at setting limits and rules in this new digital age.
Are Children at risk for online predators? Nancy Willard, director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use writes in her latest blog entry...
"The overwhelming majority of young people are at no risk on online
predation from strangers. The data on this (unfortunately 2000)
indicated there were 500 arrests for online predation by strangers
compared to 65,000 other arrests for sexual abuse of minors.
Children are not at risk. Predators target highly vulnerable teens
who are providing online indicators (material and conversations) that
they are vulnerable and interested in sex.
Young people face far greater risk from their peers. So separating
minors from adults will not protect kids and teens. Further, minors
generally become adults in their senior year of high school. Trying to
convince teens that as soon as a peer becomes an adult he or she is now
a potentially dangerous sexual predator and all contact should be ended
would be an exercise in futility - to say the least.
On to digital identification:
In order to digitally identify someone, it is necessary for the
Identity Provider to verify the identity and other variables, like age.
This is pretty easy to do for adults, with credit cards or driver's
licenses. Who has this data for minors? Bingo! Here is where you come
in. Schools have this information. In a recent Berkman task force
meeting, the ability of schools to identify minors started to take on
real steam." For more on this topic...
To look at the statistics is scary and frightening....sex, porn, and Michael Jackson were among the most popular items
kids searched for online in 2009, as tracked by Symantec's
Symantec on Thursday revealed the top 100 favorite search terms
among children 18 and under found by its free OnlineFamily.Norton
service, which helps parents monitor their kids' online searches.
Though innocuous terms like Sesame Street and "New Moon"--a popular
movie in the Twilight vampire series--made the cut, sex showed up
fourth on the list for boys and fifth for girls, following YouTube,
Google, and Facebook as the three top terms. Below is an overview summary of the results. For the full article...click here and for Norton's OnlineFamily site click here.
Some new stat comparisons....
As part of its multi-year public affairs campaign to address the emerging issue of teen digital abuse, MTV partnered with the AP on a study that provides an in depth look at the prevalence of digital abuse among young people today. This research was designed to quantify how young people are affected by and respond to issues like sexting, digital harassment and digital dating abuse. Click here for the full article.
One of the most insidious and pervasive problems with children of all ages is bullying and particularly cyberbullying. STOP cyberbullying
from WiredSafety is a site dedicated to providing relevant information and help with this issue. For more info
Additionally, with the spread of cell phone use among children as young as grade 3, it is important for parents to educate themselves in texting lingo....so here goes...
As your child uses text messaging more often, keep tabs both on the number of messages as well as the content and discuss any messages that sound threatening or dangerous.
PBS.org has created a website, It's My Life, for teens and their parents, that has videos, information and resources dealing with a variety of teen issues. Check it out here
Robin Raskin writes in her blog, Raising Digital Kids, about a variety of kid-related issues including the internet. In her latest blog entry, she would "like to remind parents that the Internet is not an all-or-nothing place for kids. Just like you wouldn't give your kids the keys to the car and tell them to "grab a bunch of friends and drive across the country" on the first day that they're licensed drivers, you don't want to give them the entire Internet experience before they're ready either." More...
FaceChipz is a new social networking site for parents AND children to help them learn to better navigate the web and connect with other kids using social networking. The site is designed for parents to monitor their child's online behavior. Signing up is a three step process:
- Step One -- The kid creates their account.
- Step Two - The parent sets up an account to monitor their child.
- Step Three -- Parental consent is verified.