Michelle Obama was wrong and let me tell you why

If you haven’t heard, Michelle Obama wrote a book touted as “an intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.”  And then she did a book tour talking about the book. She went from city to city, country to country, talking about the book, her childhood, her days at Princeton, Harvard and her law firm, her marriage and her time at the White House.  Pretty standard stuff here.

But THEN, in her book, on page 387 to be exact, she had the audacity to write, “I will never pretend that words or hugs from a First lady alone can turn somebody’s life around…” AND I BEG TO DIFFER.

Michelle Obama – YOU . . . WERE . . . WRONG. 

That special hug and words of encouragement that YOU gave ME on April 16th has turned my life around.  (See below for the conversation as much as I can recreate the words and giddiness).

           

You spoke to a spectacular...

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Being a Child in the Age of Technology

I co-wrote this free, downloadable handbook with Janice Richardson (the creator of Safer Internet Day) for the Council of Europe. The handbook is a guide for parents, educators, children and policy makers. You will also find another free CoE guide, the Internet Literacy Handbook, in the Files section of the Digital Parenting Community group on Facebook. ENJOY!

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Children today live in a rapidly changing world with expanding horizons. Technology has brought not only new experiences for them to enjoy, but a whole new dimension to their daily life in an ethereal world that we know as “being online”. Children and young people, therefore, should have the values, skills, attitudes, skills and knowledge and critical understanding necessary to confront with the challenges posed by the digital technologies and internet as well as to benefit from a wide range of its’ opportunities.

The Digital citizenship education handbook - Being Child in...

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The 5 C's Of Digital Parenting

The first quarter of 2019 has begun with a variety of digital parenting concerns that would seem to be the perfect recipe for confusion and despair for parents and caregivers.  Parents have had to contend with problems ranging from viral challenges, (hoaxes and cheese throwing) to gaming preoccupation (Fortnite and the equally enticing Apex Legends).  Throw in a dash of privacy concerns and data protection for our children, a pinch of social media influencers making millions before they can drive and swirl in a flavor of inappropriate commentaries on videos to round it all out. 

What is a digital parent to do?   Don’t panic. Parent.

Given that we are bound to see more exciting issues in the next 9 months – dare I mention artificial intelligence, virtual reality (and porn), age verification platforms, robotics and Internet of Things/Toys – parents need to realize that they have what it takes to raise a child in the digital age.

Here is a...

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Black History Month: Notable Achievements In STEM

The month of February is coming to a close and I wanted to end Black History month with one final celebration of the successes of Black Americans in the United States.

As an African American lawyer, law professor and eSafety consultant, I thought it would be timely to write a post on Black achievements in technology and science to inspire all children of color.  Several Black tech pioneers laid the groundwork for technological advances that are proving beneficial in the digital environment as well.

Here is a sample list of remarkable achievements:

  • Lewis Latimer (inventor and draftsman) helped draft the patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and he worked for Thomas Edison as well.
  • Mae C. Jemison (Astronaut) was the first African American woman space traveler in 1992 aboard the shuttle Endeavor.
  • Dr. Shirley Jackson (theoretical physicist) was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in nuclear physics at MIT.
  • Marie Van Brittan Brown...
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Black Friday for Parents in the Digital Age

Hey Digital Parents,

Let me ask you a question, what do Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all have in common?

Give up?

Digital Literacy and Critical Thinking.  I know, right.  You weren't expecting that.  Let me walk you through this.

Thanksgiving: every year, millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with family get-togethers across the country where screens are as familiar as turkey and pumpkin pie.  This Thanksgiving, (no parent-shaming here), enjoy your tech, but throw in some limits and opt for more thanks and more giving together.  Critically think about how you want your family to remember the holidays; think balance and boundaries; think about storytelling and creating memories.  (If you need ideas for device-free dinners, check out these tips from Common Sense Media.)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: you see where I'm going now.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday will tempt you with the latest, greatest deals in tech...

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Digital Parenting on Purpose with Amy Carney

I started following Amy Carney on parenting after a girlfriend shared some of her blogposts full of spot-on tips - and I fell in love with her style and advice and just plain ol'  common sense.  As a mother of two young boys, I was mesmerized by this woman who made parenting 5 children including 3 triplet - BOYS look easy peasy.

But one of her newsletters had me reaching out to ask if I could share it with my Community. And Amy graciously said YES.  Below please check out her newsletter and you can see her social media contacts at the end of the post.

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Happy Fall Y'all! 

Is it seriously already mid-October? How did we get here already?

Maybe you've noticed that I've been missing from your inbox recently. All things summer and finishing my book manuscript have kept me super busy. Dear friends, the good news is the book is all turned in so stay tuned for updates on that excitement!

In even bigger news, my husband and I courageously threw...

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Paris Talks 2018: Parenting, Children and Education in the Digital Age

In 2018, Expats Paris, launched the first conference, Paris Talks, as a platform for provocative and disruptive ideas about the future of humanity.

The conference format is short, powerful, inspiring talks, combined with entertainment and networking opportunities.  Conference issues range from fields of technology, art, and design, to science, environment, humanities and more.

The main focus of the conference is to pose questions about the future, such as, "What does the future look like?"  "Can anyone ever predict what the next century will be like?" 

I was invited to be a speaker at the 2018 Paris Talk and I spoke on the subject of Parenting, Children and Education in the Digital Age. 

Below were the key points for my talk, but as you can see from the video, I went a tad off-script after listening to some of the speakers.  I wanted to really engage the audience and drive home my concerns and support for digital parents: communicate with your children...

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Lawyer, Mom, eSafety Consultant = Digital Parenting Coach

The other day, a friend asked me not WHAT I do, but HOW I came to do what I do?  Hmm, interesting question.

If you believe in kismet, then you are halfway to understanding the fantastic ride that led me to my current profession. So let me fill you in on some of the background.

I am an American lawyer who worked in a California law firm, before realizing that law firm life wasn’t for me. I moved to Paris to fulfill a dream of being a "human DOing" rather than a "human BEing." Had a bit of drama when I arrived in Paris not speaking French and not knowing French law, but everyone says ‘reach beyond your grasp’ and there you go.

I went back to school to get an MBA and an MA in International Trade while learning the language, law and scoping out the job situation. My second year in Paris, I landed a job in a French subsidiary of an American company.

I worked in their legal department for 3 years before moving on to an Internet conferencing company where I...

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Encouragement for the Digital Parent: Parenting Techniques

I bet you’re wondering whether you even have a digital parenting technique.

Well I can guarantee that you do.

But first let’s clear up this digital parent business. If you have a child who is a digital native, a child born who was born after the widespread adoption of Internet technology, then by extension you are a digital parent.

Your digital parenting technique is no different than your regular parenting style.

Authoritative parents are very supportive and very demanding, and they provide a balance of rules and boundaries to their children. They explain the rules and boundaries beforehand and the child is given plenty of opportunities to explore and develop.

Permissive parents provide tons of love and attention to their children with few rules. Permissive parents encourage their children to explore freely without repercussions and the parents are an available resource, should the child wish.

Authoritarian parents are more focused on controlling the behavior of their...

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Parenting a Child Under 3 in the Digital Age

Parenting in the digital age is bringing new challenges to parents - and children alike.

One of the keys for moving forward as a Digital Parent is to understand the issues and then apply best practices to your family. But attention, don't be afraid to mix and match things up to find something that works for your family.

Effects of Screen time

  • Research is not conclusive on the effects of screens on child development, so err on the side of caution and find balance for screens in the life of your child. Too much screen time may damage the brain, inhibit the ability to recognize emotions, and affect child development.

Screen limits

  • Most pediatricians and psychologists on both sides of the Channel recommend no screens for our wee ones. Wee = less than two years old. 
  • If you’re feeling rebellious about screen limits and have older children, compare your digital family plan with Nanea Hoffman, author of an inspiring no-screen limit article for...
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