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Digital Citizenship

Teen boy laying on bed looking at internet on phone

Why Kids Need Us To Talk To Them About Extremism Online

“My son is on Discord,” a parent recently wrote in an email immediately following the racist killing spree in Buffalo, NY. “Should I be concerned?” I took a deep breath because I knew these conversations were complicated. In the wake of the racist killings in Buffalo, NY last week, each of us has been left…  Read More

Parent looking at iPad with child

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

(Long Before Kids Have Their Own Accounts)

“Thank goodness I have a five-year-old, I don’t have to deal with TikTok yet!” a parent recently shared. “Agreed!” chimed in another.  A third parent, however, observed, “Yeah… but who knows what social media platforms will be the rage when our kids get to high school…the metaverse?” The group quieted, clearly sobered by the prospect. …  Read More

Image of iPad that says "This year I'm proud of" and "This year I want to work on"

Pandemic Screen Time Habits: What Next?

During a virtual presentation a parent recently asked, “We’ve gotten into some really bad screen time habits during the pandemic. How do we make sure they don’t stick when this thing is over?” I smiled to myself because at that very moment my own kids were holed up in our unfinished basement with iPads while…  Read More

Ribbon on a typewriter with the words "stories matter" above

Parenting for Media Literacy: Storytelling and Power Matter

I used to teach a course on digital media, storytelling, and social change to college students in Minneapolis. One of our first field experiences every semester was to the artist studio of Minneapolis-based visual artist Ricardo Levins Morales. My students tended to be emerging filmmakers and media makers so many were surprised (and sometimes annoyed)…  Read More

Teenager looking at camera and behind him is a computer screen with fake news

Talking to Kids About Fake News

“Nothing on the internet is real anyway,” my youngest announced emphatically to his older brother. “You don’t know what you are talking about,” my oldest retorted as he searched for evidence that some ducks do indeed sleep with only one eye open. He was clearly ready to launch into an evidence-based defense of his beloved…  Read More

Teenage boy looking at phone and llistening to music with earbuds in his ears.

What Teens Need Us to Know About Social Media and Mental Health

“Any gratitude I had for screens is gone,” a friend shared this week, “I was thrilled in March…thank goodness for technology! Take the iPad and go forth! Now online meetings, gaming, and chats feel more and more empty, especially with everything going on the world. I just want my kid to unplug for a while.…  Read More

Screen time rules change during COVID-19 pandemic as child does distance learning alongside parent working

Do Screen Time Rules Matter in a Pandemic? Try This Approach

I knew we had reached peak screen saturation in my home as I watched my youngest son log onto a Zoom call and then, realizing he wanted his brother included, walked over and sat next to him on the couch. My eldest was on Facetime and they quickly realized they were live streaming a live…  Read More

Parent and child enjoying reducing screen time

Why Reducing Screen Time Isn’t Your Best Resolution

But Changing Digital Habits Might Be

The other day I found myself thinking, “What a time to be alive!” as I watched my oldest child make a series of online slideshows for some of his teachers. He couldn’t have been happier to be writing, creating hilarious art, and even adding poetry to his creations. Outside of school time! Just for fun!…  Read More

Parent acting as media mentor using technology together

Parenting in the Digital Age

Become the Media Mentor Your Child Needs

It has never been an easy job to be a parent of a young child.  But in our fast-paced and easily distracted digital age the use of handheld devices has become ubiquitous. Smartphone and tablets are often found in your hands, and we worry about how often screens can be found in the littles hands…  Read More

Teenager looking at her phone

For Teens, Digital Citizenship Takes Practice

“I just don’t get it!” sighed a parent I spoke to recently. “We’ve talked about this over and over again. She knows better!” He was referring to his daughter getting pulled into online conflict that had quickly escalated to the level of getting the school principal involved. If you are a parent of a teenager,…  Read More