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Dear Social Media, It’s Time to Grow Up

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act provides safeguards for our children under the age of thirteen. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even YouTube use COPPA to inform their age requirements. This assumes that at 13 years old while using social media, our teens should be able to understand the difference between advertising and content, truth and distortion, appropriate and offensive postings and how to behave in an online environment.

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4 Tips for Avoiding Tech Distracted Holidays

‘Tis the season of gathering around the fireplace, attending holiday parties, enjoying lively dinners and the sounds of beeping Smartphones. Wait, what was that last one? During the holidays we aspire to re-create a 1950s perfect version of family gatherings. The problem is that 2017 is full of distractions that were unthinkable 60 years ago. So, how can we resolve our nostalgia with 21st century reality? Here are my Positive Digital Life tips to make the whole family happy.

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Digital Strategies: Why One Teacher WANTS His Students to Use Social Media

One amazing teacher can have a profound impact. Many of us can remember at least one teacher who changed the way we thought about ourselves, about learning and about our place in our communities. I remember my third grade teacher who was so captivating that she made me want to do my best. Decades later, I still remember her style, humor and passion for teaching. She made it cool to be smart and she changed the way I thought about school. I thought of her again recently when I spoke with Jason Shaffer, High School Education Technology Teacher for the North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. Jason is on the leading edge of educators who want their students to use social media. He is an inspiration to me and to his students, watch my full interview with Jason and you will soon see why.

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Online Safety: Mission Possible

Parenting is hard. We all know and accept this. The minute you were released from the hospital with a newborn you realized it was not going to be easy. I remember being overwhelmed in the car ride home from the hospital, and like most new parents I’m sure I looked like a deer in headlights. So you lean on others to guide you; parenting books, doctors and nurses, your parents, relatives, friends and your spouse. With the help of a village you are able to face the challenge of caring for the new little person in your house.

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My Approach to Good Digital Citizenship

Earlier this month the Obama Foundation launched a project to define and promote ‘digital citizenship.’ As Founder of Cyber Sensible, my focus has been to encourage parents, students and educators to maintain a positive digital life by employing the power of technology toward their success and well-being. During my workshops, I begin the digital citizenship discussion by asking these questions.

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Summertime Screentime

The lazy days of summer can be a much-needed break from the busy routine of the school year for kids. Unfortunately for parents, summer can become a battle to keep kids from getting swallowed up by their technology – Netflix, Xbox, Instagram, Snapchat, Pokémon Go and on and on. So, how can families balance tech use and keep free time from becoming nothing but screen time? Here’s my advice.

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Teach Your Child to Be CyberCivil

There is a loss of civility in our culture and even more so online as people feel they can hide their poor behavior behind the shadow of their screens. As a parent, I think it is important not only to talk to your kids about responsible use of technology, but also to set an example of good digital citizenship. Take some time to reflect on your online behavior and be a good digital role model for your child. Following are ten simple steps you can take to show your child how to behave online.

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An Argument for Digital Citizenship Education

Before finishing my morning coffee, two news stories caught my eye as they provide more evidence that digital citizenship education is essential for all, especially the young. The first is a tragic story of a young girl who was targeted on social media, first by cyberbullies and next her vulnerability was exploited, also online, by her alleged killer. The second story is about a celebrity being sued for an offensive meme he shared online of an eight year-old-girl. What do these stories have in common? That what we do online has consequences. And everyone, from the young and innocent to the ‘should’ve known better’ could use a lesson or two in the appropriate use of technology.

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Kids, Safety and Social Media

We know our kids spend a good deal of their time with technology, in school, at home and on the go. How can we as a community work together to allow our kids the incredible potential of our connected world while also keeping them safe from harm?