Week of March 3, 2014

To help you keep up with what’s going on with kids, families, schools, and technology, we’ve compiled a list of stories, tips, and insights, we’ve found most useful over the past week.  What have you been reading? Tell us below or Tweet @TrendISKF.

POPULAR YIKYAK APP MAKING HEADLINES: The latest app that’s both popular but that is in some cases is being misused is called YikYak.  It let’s you use post anonymous comments to an audience that’s physically close by (like your college campus).  Here’s a great overview from the Cyberbullying Research Center with some advice on how to handle any bullying that might be happening on it.

I would advise, however, that since the app was definitely intended for college campuses and older teens (17+), parents avoid any trouble for this app and others like it by simply setting age restrictions on your under 17 kids’ mobile devices.  Beyond that simple step, however, is the harder task of teaching, role-modeling, and reminding our kids that they should always be kind, and that anything they post is permanent and not really private.  These are choices that will reflect and make up a true picture of who they really are to others who will be able to see those choices.

TALK ONLINE SAFETY BEFORE BIRDS AND BEES:  In a new book by Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, “The New Digital Age,” the authors claim that having a conversation with kids about how to use the Internet is “a more important conversation than the birds and the bees.” The book stresses that parents need to talk to their kids and “start early about the importance of online privacy and security, years before they even talk about the birds and the bees.”

When are you starting this important conversation about digital citizenship and online safety with your children?

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Similar to how we promoted the good that’s happening online for Safer Internet Day, the Los Angeles Daily News outlined a few positive and inspiring ways kids are engaging online and through social media, such as purposefully taking “Ugly Selfies” to show you don’t always have to be perfect or beautiful in pictures, as well as TED talks by kids and other kid-started ideas like apps, non-profits and efforts to end cyber-bullying.

TECH TRUMPS TOYS: A recent study by child-education specialists the Michael Cohen Group, suggests digital touchscreens have overtaken kids’ interest for other children’s toys. The research shows that more than 60 percent of parents say their kids aged 12 and under play on touch screens “often.” And 38 percent apparently play “very often.”

It’s an interesting data point, but we can’t draw too many broad conclusions from this alone.  In looking at the larger research report, it doesn’t appear the researchers put tech time in context.  They didn’t ask about other activities within a child’s day (such as playing with friends, extracurricular actvities such as sports or dance lessons, music lessons, etc.).   So take in the data, but know it’s showing us just a corner of the bigger picture about how youth spend their time in a given day.

See you next week!

Lynette Owens

Lynette Owens

Lynette Owens is Vice President of Global Consumer Education & Marketing at Trend Micro and Founder of the Internet Safety for Kids and Families program. With 25+ years in the tech industry, Lynette speaks and blogs regularly on how to help kids become great digital citizens. She works with communities and 1:1 school districts across the U.S. and around the world to support online safety, digital and media literacy and digital citizenship education. She is a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, an advisory committee member of the Digital Wellness Lab, and serves on the advisory boards of INHOPE and U.S. Safer Internet Day.

Follow her on Twitter @lynettetowens.