Guide to Media Literacy for Teens, Seniors and everyone in between.
Nov 2016
18

Media Literacy for Parents, Teens and Seniors

I am not exactly part of the “Sandwich Generation” because I do not care for elderly relatives, but we have been in charge of our parentals’ technology for at least a decade… and while our 14-year-old son is starting to compete with our knowledge on the subject, we have been on his case for years about understanding the media he was consuming from the very minute he got an iPhone. Media literacy has been a crucial part of our parenting strategies, for sure.

Dex used to love this app called iFunny. It pretty much just shares goofy memes all day long, thus the name. But he would tell me something he read there as “fact” almost every day… so we continually – and I mean continually – would ask him, “Did you look that up? How do you know that is true?”

Finally, he would bring things up differently.

“I haven’t had a chance to research it, but this is interesting…”

“I verified this already; check out this story about x, y, x…”

So, yeah, I have had this post brewing for over a year, at least.

Learn about Media Literacy and how to apply it on social media to avoid fake news.

What’s The Deal With Fake News?

Part of the fallout from the 2016 election has been calls (or rants, as the case may be) from tech leaders to be more responsible for the news we share, and how we digest it. Facebook and Google launched a new initiative this week to battle “fake news” sites (that is a kind word for it) and then a mastermind of spreading lies spoke to the Washington Post about his effect on the presidency.

You have seen them. Some crazy headline like Goldie Hawn has passed away, but when you click through it’s merely a blog post selling skin cream (more specifically, an ad pretending to be editorial, much like the ones in print magazines that were forced to have a huge “ADVERTISEMENT” headline added to the top).

In the case of the election, there were misleading and downright untrue “news stories” that flew around social media like wildfire. At one point my aunt said to me, “how do you even keep track of it all?”

It’s difficult. Continue reading…

Snapchat Guide For Parents
May 2016
09

Snapchat Guide For Parents

Is your teen on Snapchat? Are you on Snapchat to keep up with your kids?

(That is what happened to us.)

We proclaimed last year that this newest, super hip social media app was off limits for our son, until *we* were more ready. There are lots of reason to be wary, and to be paying attention.

The name is perfect, because interactions are very quick. A “snap” – whether it be a photo, video or text – only stays up for a few seconds, which of course, can lead to the sharing of super inappropriate things. After the snap is gone, it’s gone, poof! Friends who have been on it since the beginning say the lurid behavior on Snapchat has chilled out, but it’s still a good reason – as with all social networks – to keep tabs on who your kid is interacting with and how.

Having said all that, I am starting to get my head around Snapchat and its appeal. It’s fun! My son describes it as “Twitter for YouTubers.” What he means by that is he’s heard me call Twitter a micro-blogging site, meaning we write these long-winded posts on our own blogs and then share little blips of life on Twitter. Snapchat does the same, in multiple formats. Continue reading…

Parent Hacks Book Tips
Apr 2016
05

Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life

For those paying attention, that is not the correct title of the book. Asha Dornfest‘s collection of tips is actually called Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life With Kids. And yes, most of these tips are directly related to parenting, pregnancy and children. But lots of them are little nuggets of wisdom that just make sense for everyday life.

Squish toilet paper rolls a bit to slow them down. Put cupcake liners in your car’s cupholder to catch debris.

What?! So darn smart.

The Parent Hacks I Wish I’d Had

My son is nearly 14 going on 40, so I read many of the baby tips with a trace of regret. Like bouncing on an exercise ball to soothe a fussy baby? Core tummy strength would have been an added bonus.

The book itself is a compact, quick read – and super cute. Craighton Berman‘s illustrations are a perfect companion for the accumulation of ideas after 10 years of blogging at Parent Hacks.

I have been a long-time fan of Asha and I’m also so proud to call her my friend. I’m now thrilled to have a fun, practical book to gift other friends who are in the trenches of parenting.

Cheers!

Parent Hacks - Genius Tips for Parenting Book

Tech Tips for Families
Sep 2015
10

Family Tech Tips With AT&T’s Smart Limits

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by AT&T but all words and opinions are mine.

Our son Dex is about to turn 13, so we continue to slowly expand his freedoms on the phone. In the beginning, we had really strict policies about who he could text, but as he goes through middle school – he is gaining more casual friends that he wants to – and should be able to – communicate with on the regular.

But how do we allow him more wiggle room while still being protective? AT&T introduced me to their Smart Limits service and app… it’s been the perfect compromise for us.

Before that, how about a refresher on tech tips for families?

Family Tech Tips Continue reading…

PBS KIDS Arthur - Storm Shelter
Sep 2015
03

PBS KIDS Helps Families With Storm Preparedness

The weather has been crazy all over lately, right? Here in Denver we have had flash floods and tornadoes. Not just out on the plains – but in town! Luckily my son, at nearly 13, has an easy time understanding what to do.

How to we help the little ones, though? PBS KIDS to the rescue! Both Arthur and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will be airing new episodes on September 8th dealing with just this issue. (New episodes of preschool math series PEG + CAT will also premiere that week.)

PBS KIDS Daniel Tiger - Storm Preparedness Continue reading…