9 Steps to Good Parenting

photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc
photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc

This post is a primer of sorts, adapted from notes I took from my pastor, Joel Gregory, from a message entitled, “The 12 Steps to Parenting” in October 2011 (I had to make the blog title fit the A to Z Challenge!). The points are his, but the commentary is mine except where noted. (Note: These are in a random order- not necessarily in order of most importance.)

1 – Make sure your children are taught to respect authority. You have to model this yourself as well–it’s not just for the kiddies. You like to run every yellow light you encounter, talk back to cops, and speak to other adults in authority in a rude or impatient manner, it doesn’t matter what you tell your kids to do in school. They will learn from your behavior more than your words. “Be careful to be respectful even when you’ve done right and authority seems to be wrong. [In such cases,] God will deal with that authoritative figure.”

Continue reading “9 Steps to Good Parenting”

Misrepresentation in Online Personas

Credit: Jeff Bullas
Credit: Jeff Bullas

As you coast through your Facebook timeline, does it not seem that your “friends” are living a fabulous life? Do you ever feel a smidgen of discontent? Not even when you see the occasional notification that someone has gotten engaged or married? Or maybe it’s not personal relationships, but business successes that drive you a little crazy on the inside with each one you see? All the fun people seem to have on the weekends and holidays. Pictures of people on vacations, in restaurants [insert whatever gets you here].

Pardon the pun, but I don’t feed into it. It’s easy to marvel at the amazing lives your friends seem to lead, but everything is not always what it seems… especially when you consider how people selectively self-represent online. They aren’t sharing their real lives–they are sharing the life that they want to project. It’s easy to misrepresent yourself by only sharing things that frame you in a certain light, and omitting others. Everyone has their own TMI level (that is, oversharing), and for some it’s higher than others.

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Youth Under Survelliance: Privacy Matters

My daughter leaves subtle, but obvious tell-tale signs that she was there:

  • Toothpaste in the sink
  • Sneakers in the middle of the floor
  • Socks in odd places
  • Crumbs on the table

Sound like anyone you know?

For those of us who use social media, there’s a different set of crumbs we all leave behind, even if we’re unaware of it. Our virtual footprint.

Geotags are embedded information that tag the global position where the phone was used to take the picture. It’s part of GPS technology in cell phones that was originally thought to be a feature for emergency crews to track cell phone locations, but it’s now being used in other ways. For example, you take a picture with your cell phone then post it to Facebook. Someone with just a little bit of computer knowledge can figure out location by looking at the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken. Then, the next time you post that you’re going to work or hanging out with friends, online predators can monitor your movement and uncover patterns in your behavior, opening the door for theft. And thanks to websites like ICanStalkU.com (which closed in January 2012), people can monitor social media and let people know when their photos are giving away their locations.

Protecting your privacy is not just a matter of being aware and personally responsible. A friend may take a geotagged photo at your house and post it on a social media site–no malice intended.

Media Literacy Week 2012

The 7th annual Media Literacy Week is October 28 – November 4 in U.S.; November 5 – 9, 2012 in Canada, and the theme is Privacy Matters.   The goal of MLW this year is to encourage parents, teachers and community leaders to help youth better manage their personal information online.

Private Made Public

Young people today spend large amounts of time sharing parts of their personal lives online playing games, “checking in” with geolocation applications like Foursquare and social media sites, posting photos and catching up with friends on social media sites. Despite this openness, young people’s privacy does indeed matter to them, especially as their online actions become increasingly monitored by parents, educators, and corporations.
Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Programhttps://dareeallen.leadpages.co/leadbox-942.js

Beware of “Kid-Friendly” TV Shows

Just because a show airs on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel does not mean that it portrays characters and situations appropriate for your child.  If your child watches programs with content you’re not sure about, make time to watch programs with them and discuss what’s happening. Evaluate the message the show is portraying, talk about whether you agree, and guide your child on any similar decisions they may face. You can also write letters to broadcast executives if they air content you take exception to.

The Illusion of Choice

Did you know that only 6 companies control the media in the U.S.?

Continue reading “Youth Under Survelliance: Privacy Matters”

Parenting Past Passive Inconvenience

Patience has never my strongest asset, but being a parent has changed me (somewhat). If I really need some time to myself to relax or get some serious work done, and my only child is “bored” and doesn’t have a neighbor available to play with her, she commences to get on my nerves. That’s when I gruffly suggest that she goes to watch TV, play a game online, or find something else to do.

It’s so easy to just dismiss a kid to watch TV or park them in front of a movie with a snack or two. We know that the TV shouldn’t be used as a babysitter, but sometimes that’s just what it is. But just because a show airs on a family-oriented network such as Disney, ABC Family, Nickelodeon/Teen Nick, and the like doesn’t mean there is no questionable content. Are you sure the storylines, characters and premise of the shows reflect most of the values and morals you want to instill in your children? It’s not so bad if we are aware of what our kids are watching.

My posts all this week have discussed the high-level definition of media literacy, and points that parents should not ignore when it comes to their childrens’ media diet. However, I don’t want to give the impression that all media is bad–it’s not all garbage! Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Programhttps://dareeallen.leadpages.co/leadbox-942.js Continue reading “Parenting Past Passive Inconvenience”

Ask These 5 Key Questions About Your Media Diet

5-key-questionsWhen you consume media, whether it’s watching a TV show, playing a video game, or reading an article online, and looking at an a billboard, poster or online/magazine ad, ask yourself and your kids these 5 key questions:

1. Who sent this message? (gives background/context)
2. What techniques are used to attract my attention? (artistically? flashy?)
3. How might other people understand this message? (different perspectives)
4. What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message? (slant)
5. Why was this message sent? (gain profit/power/influence?)

Discussing these questions with your children along with the values you set will help them begin to deconstruct messages and discern the types of media they should entertain themselves with.

Being Media Savvy Does Not Mean You’re Media-Literate

Credit: Strauss/Curtis

Why is digital media and media literacy so important?  The songs young people listen to, their style of dress, and the way they interact with and treat each other (including bullying), their sexual activity or lack of, drug and alcohol abuse, teen dating violence. Self-esteem is a fundamental, root factor that affects these issues that plague teenagers. Digital media interests them (online access to music, video, and social media) and their level of media literacy affects the way they learn.

Most teen and pre-teen students are media-savvy, but most are not media literate. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.  Media literacy raises students’ awareness and teaches them critical thinking so they can be more proactive in understanding and interpreting the media messages they receive.media-savvy-not-literate

Several factors* comprise media literacy, including:

  • an awareness of personal media habits
  • an understanding of how the media work
  • an appreciation of media’s power/influence
  • the ability to discern, critically question
  • an understanding of how meaning is created in media texts
  • the ability to create and produce media

* Baker, F. Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom (ISTE, 2012)

Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Programhttps://dareeallen.leadpages.co/leadbox-942.js

They Like the Music and Media… But Are They Getting the Right Message?

Although there are no major national holidays in August (U.S.),  August is pretty synonymous with Back-to-School activities. Back to early mornings, bus rides, PTA meetings, and the hustle and bustle that comes with it. Whether your kids resume classes in August or September, it means a shift in routines, styles of dress and hair, new slang terminology, increased peer interaction, influences and attitudes. Most of the latter are affected greatly by the types and amount of media we consume here in the U.S.

No doubt, today’s youth are growing up in the most media-saturated world of our time. To them, the internet is a regular way of life–they don’t know of anything else. They can get news and information whenever they want it, whether on a computer, tablet, or their Smartphone. A 2009 Kaiser Generation survey found that 8- to 18-year olds are exposed to an average of almost 11 hours of media DAILY. They are inundated with thousands of media messages every day, and the effects and influence of print and digital media on our culture ultimately affect the self-esteem and academic success of American youth. That makes a media literacy curriculum in middle schools and high schools an absolute necessity.

Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Programhttps://dareeallen.leadpages.co/leadbox-942.js

Tune into this blog all week for more on how we can use media literacy education to help our children decipher the complex media messages they receive.