16 Stories About #DigitalParenting, 26/12/13

Keeping track of a number of stories relating to ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘ in the news:

  • mhAILfwSanta in the Digital Age: Will He Survive?: I’m not saying that Santa is a bad thing (clearly I don’t think so), but he is a myth. And when kids are getting connected to the Internet at younger and younger ages, how long until the fabrication is impossible to keep going? How long until a YouTube video ruins the fun for hundreds of thousands of “connected” kids?
  • Introducing the Digital Dad: But other than being a digital enthusiast, I’m also a realist and the digital revolution is here to stay. Two thirds of UK 12- to 15-year-olds now have a smartphone, according to the latest Ofcom report – up 50% from the year before. Parents, if you haven’t already, you might as well join the online party.
  • How the Grinch Steals Christmas: He Follows Your Kid on Instagram: In Dr. Seuss’ timeless tale, the Grinch had to wait until all of Whoville was asleep, tie his dog to a sled and slink down a few too-tight chimneys in order to steal Christmas from the Whos. In 2013, all a savvy criminal needs to do is follow your kids on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Foursquare, Google+ and/or Snapchat to figure out when the coast is clear.
  • What Nonverbal Kids Can Gain From Technology: Many parents and teachers of children with special needs wonder if using technology to communicate is a good idea, or if it will stifle and get in the way of oral speech production. I’m asked this question almost every day in the office — I can feel their worry, I know their concerns. It’s a really good question that needs a full answer.
  • Do You Model Unhealthy Tech Habits?: From generation to generation, we teach our kids healthy habits. Eat right. Exercise. Brush your teeth. But when it comes to your technology habit, you could be setting a bad example — without even knowing it.
  • The Amazing iKid: My generation was the last to have had a childhood without a mobile phone. I got my first cell phone in my early twenties, and it was an archaic experience in comparison to today’s technology — no Internet, camera, Facebook, apps or texting, and it was just small enough to fit in my backpack. But I am grateful not to have been exposed to the seduction of the smartphone as a kid. I am sure I would have been just as tempted by it then as I am now. I am co-dependent with my mini-machine, and feel more lost if I leave the house without my phone than if I had forgotten to put on pants. It makes me wonder what is it like for these iKids growing up with endless access and distraction in the palm of their hands.
  • Holiday to-do list: Unplug with your children: While it’s fun to connect with family via social media, movies, and games — and believe me, there will be plenty of that going on anyway — it’s great to unplug for a while and enjoy some old-fashioned analog time together. You know, make eye contact, listen to each other’s voices, and engage in the physical world.
  • New Report Proves That Young People and Their Gadgets Can Co-Exist in the Great Outdoors: A new National Wildlife Federation report explores the positive benefits of technology and outdoor exploration. Friending Fresh Air: Connecting Kids to Nature in the Digital Age details how kids’ media habits can both positively and negatively impact health, learning and social development.
  • Babes in a Digital Toyland: Even 3-Year-Olds Get Gadgets: A recent survey of 1,000 parents with children between 2 and 10 found that more than half planned to buy a tech item for their children this holiday season. About two-thirds of those planned to give a tablet or smartphone, according to the survey, which was taken for PBS Kids, the brand of the public broadcasting network aimed at young children.

  • New York school all-in on all-digital textbooks: “We went to digital because it makes for better learning,” says Frank Portanova, vice principal at Stepinac. “This is the way kids learn today. And the online content is a lot richer. You’ve got assessments, you’ve got virtual labs, you’ve got blogging.”

  • Am I Crazy to Give My Tween a Cell Phone?: We have finally decided to give my old iPhone to our 11-year-old for Christmas, and I’m already concerned that this may end up being a big mistake. Quite a few of his classmates have a cell phone and he has been begging for one. I want to make him happy but I am worried that it may cause endless arguments. Am I crazy for giving him an iPhone?
  • 4 tips to disconnect from technology, reconnect your family: Rising to the challenge of parenting digital natives – a term commonly used to describe a generation of children who have never known a world without digital technologies – means that we have some important work to do. As a crucial first step, we need to both familiarize ourselves and keep up with technology. After all, the responsibility falls squarely on us to help our children learn good judgment and how to responsibly navigate the rapidly changing digital world.

  • Ella’s Kitchen targets tech savvy parents with digital weaning guide created by Delete: Previously Ella’s Kitchen had sent customers who signed up to be friends of the brand a printed guide to the weaning process. However, with its target audience increasingly demanding information on-the-go Ella’s Kitchen decided to make its guide fully digital and available for use on mobile, tablet and desktop.

  • Breaking the digital habit: Whenever I enter a restaurant, I’m presented with the sight of diners who, having ordered their dishes, are now hunched in the same position – heads bowed as they immerse themselves in their smartphones or pads. While the death of the art of pre-dinner chitchat at the hands of our electronic companions may be a blessing as well as a curse, depending on the dinner company you keep, more worrying is the increasing amount of time our children spend bewitched by these digital devices. (This is a BEHAVIOURAL problem, right?) 
  • Parents buying tablets for children urged to look out for hidden costs: The regulator urged parents to talk to their children about the costs involved in using mobile devices and tablets, and issued tips for consumers to help them avoid nasty surprises. These include looking at the small print when downloading apps and ensuring you know how to unsubscribe from any paid-for service.

and an interesting story about teaching your children to fail, questioning whether time with Dad has to be video time, whilst in the US/Canada children could receive a personalised message from Santa.