Advice to parents re: sexual content

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I was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the topic of sexual content in video games and more specifically, how can parents prevent their children from stumbling upon inappropriate content?  You can see the article behind a paywell here: "Roblox struggles with sexual content. It hopes a rating system will help."

Many parents don't realize that sexual role-playing, sexualized gestures including twerking, lap-dancing, and more, can be found in children's online video games. Even the innocent, cartoon image-like games.  Gaming platforms such as Roblox find it difficult to successfully moderate this inappropriate content because it is in fact user-generated content.

This means that the users themselves are creating and uploading sexualized content that our little ones can inadvertently see.

While we wait for industry guidelines on content moderation or perhaps even government regulation on how to keep our children safe online, we -, as parents and...

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Critical thinking about YouTube

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How can I ensure that my child is critical about what they see online and is positively influenced by influencers they follow?

There are so many different things that children can watch on YouTube: videos made for especially for children; videos made by other children like them; educational videos, instructional gaming videos and so much more.  But one thing is certain, children today are more and more engrossed with their favourite YouTubers and indeed, they even aspire to become YouTubers themselves.

Parents and caregivers should remember that the YouTube platform is for users 13+ and YouTube Kids for the under 13s.  No matter the platform that your child uses, parents and caregivers, can ensure that children develop critical thinking when choosing what videos to watch and what influencers to follow.

Guidelines for watching videos

  • Make sure that you set the rules for watching videos and that your child is in agreement
  • Consider setting up a family account
  • Turn...
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Encouragement and resources - post-COVID

 

 

Believe it or not, this is NOT a post about Coronavirus or COVID-19. 

This is a post about support and resources and positive thinking to help all parents and caregivers as they adjust their lifestyles to an intensive digital period. 

At Digitalem (formerly Digital Parenting Coach) we are pulling more resources together to support you.  We have revamped our Instagram account, started a Digital Safety Mom channel on TikTok for the kids and, as always, our free FB group  The Digital Parenting Community has got your back!

  • We share the positive and good things that are happening in our digital families.
  • We exchange tried and true strategies on digital parenting, ranging from best educational apps, to best parental control apps, to almost full-proof screen time schedules (that one is always a work in process).
  • We listen, we support, we ask questions, we laugh, we cry and we do our darnedest to raise our children to be responsible digital citizens who know...
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Back to School, Remote Learning and Digital Families

 
Back-to-school is creating anxiety for families, whether your kids have already started or will start soon. But digital parents can get ahead of the game and start planning their child's digital environment.
 
We often say that we want our children to survive and thrive in the digital age, and I think more than ever, emphasis is being placed on surviving / managing / hanging in there.
 
The following tips should give you a few ideas on how to set-up your child for the school year. If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments or come visit our Digital Parenting Community and share them there!
 
We are all in this together.
 
Space
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Digital Parents, let's raise porn-resilient children!

 

 

Seriously, I know that you are probably cringing as you read the title of this blogpost, but cringing isn't going to help our digital families.

As parents we have to dive into some of those uncomfortable topics in order to guide our children on the digital highway.  Now, more than ever, we need to have those conversations about pornography and inappropriate images, so that our children know and understand our values and expectations.

As we are grappling with the pandemic AND lockdown AND more time spent online, we can be sure of one thing - our children have more opportunities to view porn. Now don't get me wrong, most children are not searching for porn online, but they may stumble upon it by accident.

So what's a parent to do?

Enroll in this free online parent's course from Culture Reframed, whose mission is helping young people thrive despite a hypersexualized culture.

Culture Reframed has created a best-practice toolkit, which will help you raise...

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Grayscale on an iPhone – what is it and why it’s cool.

 

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS GRAYSCALE STUFF?

Some of us love black and white movies, but today, the vast majority of movies are made in full, bright, robust color.  Why?  Because, duh, colors stimulate us and on the big screen this is just plain VIBRANCY.  But what about on little screens?

When we think about iPhones and iPads, we may not always want or need that vibrancy.

Think of it this way: would your child find his favorites cartoons VIBRANT if they were in black or white?  Or what about your daughter’s favorite TikTok videos? Or your son’s favorite Minecraft gamer explaining something on YouTube?  I think we can all agree, that using grayscale will reduce some of the vibrancy and perhaps some of the attraction.

Not convinced? A few brave souls have tried living the grayscale life and reported back.

  •  “My smartphone usage plummeted overnight when I activated grayscale mode.
  • If you want to use parts of your phone in color,...
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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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