Digital Citizenship

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A Treasure Trove of Back to School Apps

Looking for apps that can help you and children get ready for the new school year? The AppAdvice site has a list with different categories of apps including those useful for keeping track of homework, projects and tests, as well as shopping for school supplies and lunches. There are even location sharing apps for making sure everyone got home safe at the end of the school day.

Beyond Facebook – Get Up to Speed on Where Teens are Headed Now Online

With school starting you may want to check out a new article on the Common Media Site titled 17 Apps and Websites Kids Are Heading to After Facebook . The article is divided up into sections that cover topics including secret apps and microblogging, and covers some of the most popular sites and apps for teens, looking at their positive and negative attributes.

Fitbit – An Exercise Turn Off for Teens?

An eight-week study in the United Kingdom found that teens who wore a Fitbit Charge wristband became bored with it after about four weeks, and overall said they felt less confident about exercising and were discouraged from doing it, researchers reported in the American Journal of Health Education. Researchers also said that interacting and making progress comparisons with peers, rather than just working on their own with the technology, were better motivators for most of the teens in the study.

Virtual Schooling: Pros and Cons

Is your child thinking about virtual schooling on the high school or college level? Flexibility, personal attention from teachers, and developing time-management skills are among the benefits of virtual schooling, assert two graduates of virtual high schools and colleges. In a Q&A on the EdSurge site, the graduates address common questions around distance learning, including socialization, but also acknowledge that while they were successful, virtual schools might not suit all learners.

Digital Versus Print Reading – Which is Better Unclear

Parents and teachers watch young people consume thousands of words on their digital devices each day and may wonder if there is a difference between reading on a device or on traditional print formats such as a newspaper or book. According to an analysis recently published in the Review of Educational Research, the benefits of digital versus print reading formats are unclear. Researchers found format has little effect when reading to get the "gist," of a text, but format can have an effect when reading for detail or comprehension

Snapchat Versus Instagram – The Battle for the Under 25 Crowd

Instagram reports that users younger than 25 spend more than 32 minutes daily on the platform, and those 25 and older are active for more than 24 minutes daily. Both totals outpace figures from Snapchat, which stated in February that users under 25 spend more than 30 minutes daily on the platform, while users 25 and older spend about 20 minutes daily. If your children use both, they could be spending an hour a day on these apps.

Learning To Code Isn’t All They Learned

An article in The New York Times about programs that teach coding and programming to children as young as 2 years old also teaches a variety of other invaluable life skills. When children are given the freedom to use their curiosity to explore and make things, they learn how to solve problems through making mistakes. These skills help children in coping with frustration and empathizing and collaborating with others, something that has proven to be important for success in adulthood. “If you raise and educate kids to be flexible, problem solvers and good communicators, they can adapt to a world that is new,” says Harvard Professor Stephanie M. Jones.

Texting May Offer Intellectual Value

Parents and teachers often lament the proclivity of students to text rather than email or call, even attributing it as the downfall of writing, but according to new research from Missy Watson and Madhuri Karak of the City College of New York, texting offers intellectual value and actually helps students improve their communication skills. In a recent commentary that outlines their study, they discuss findings that students tend to think more deeply about how they communicate while texting. This includes using texting as a form of journaling, negotiating via text, and receiving the benefit of slower communication to actually think about what they want to say and how they want to say it versus the back and forth conversation of a phone call.

Useful Digital Tricks For Everyday Life

Did you know the volume button on your phone can be used to take pictures? How about using the “Guest Mode” feature on your Android phone so that when someone asks to borrow they cannot access the personal information stored on your phone? Did you know that you could do a reverse image search to help yourself when using an online dating service to find out if you are being scammed by someone using a fake picture? All these tricks and more are contained in an article by Kim Komodo on the USA Today site entitled “How did I not know this?”

Online Predators – Get the Facts

Media stories about online predators make for sensationalized press, playing on parental fears, but how worried should you be? Overall statistics show that unwanted sexual solicitation is down but the most important thing is to arm yourself with facts about the issue and solutions if you suspect your child is, or could become, a victim. Common Sense Media recently took up the topic in an article entitled The Facts about Online Predators Every Parent Should Know. The article outlines the facts and strategies for handling your concerns about online predators.