Thank goodness for Zoom and all the other communication technologies that kept us connected during the pandemic.
One of the many ways I relied on Zoom during the last year was to launch our Cyberwise Chat series. These are informal conversations that cover a wide variety of tech topics of interest to parents raising kids today. These Chats give me a chance to talk with two of the smartest people I know when it comes to kids and tech. The first is one of my former professors from Fielding Graduate University’s M.A. program in Media Psychology, Dr. Pamela Rutledge. She’s also the Director of the Media Psychology Research Center and a deep well of knowledge about the psychological reasons behind why kids do what they do online. The other person is Rick Andreoli, Editor-In-Chief of Parentology. When he is not swinging from the air (he’s also an aerialist) he works tirelessly serving parents the latest news on every parenting topic you imagine.
Frankly, I just enjoy chatting with these two. They are smart, witty, and knowledgeable. In our Zoom time together we aim to provide parents with research-based, useful information (and encouragement) about some of the most pressing parenting and technology issues of the day.
All of these “Cyberwise Chats” are available online for your listening/viewing pleasure. Following is a rundown of topics we’ve tackled thus far.
- Post-Pandemic Reboot: Helping Kids with the Return to “Normal”: During this post-pandemic return to “normal,” kids need parents to help them re-learn how to balance screen time with real life, understand how to use technology mindfully and safely and, most of all, help them manage the anxiety and stress many have (and will) suffer during this transition.
- Parents: Get the Lowdown on Instagram. Will an Under-13 Version Make is Safe for Your Kids?: In this one we discussed parental concerns about Instagram. Here are some things that top the list: Data collection, access to inappropriate content (pornography, violence, fake news, dangerous challenges, etc.), a "compare and despair" atmosphere, possible links to anxiety and depression, and more.
- Chat Apps: Clubhouse, Omegle, and More! Clubhouse is one of the newest communication apps on the block, what about it is making it so popular, so fast? And Omegle has been around for a while, why the sudden resurgence in interest? Is it safe for kids? What other chat apps are kids using now and why?
- When ‘Cancel Culture’ Turns Into Cyberbullying: Teens might use the phrase “you’re canceled” in jest, but some are taking it a step farther and actually blocking, unfollowing, and boycotting peers on social media (and in real life) because of a personal opinion or for simply saying/doing something disagreeable. First used as a way to target celebrities—i.e., #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty—“Cancel Culture” has made its way into classrooms and into teen peer groups. This new form of cyberbullying has many parents concerned about how it’s affecting their kids.
- Kids Love TikTok Challenges: From the "Cereal Challenge" to the "Penny Challenge," the "Blackout Challenge" and more, viral challenges born and spread on the popular app, TikTok, range from silly to downright dangerous. In this Chat, we discuss some of the most outrageous TikTok Challenges, and what parents should know about them.
- Tech Tips to Help Your Family Thrive in 2021: 2020 is gone, but COVID is still here. That means many of us are still relying on tech--for learning, work, and socialization. Listen to this Chat to find out what tech tools your family can use to thrive in 2021.
- Is Your Child Ready for a Cellphone? Find out if your child is ready for the most popular holiday gift... the cellphone.
- Navigating the Holidays: Tech to the Rescue? Here we answer your questions about how to use technology (and which tech to use) to stay connected with family and friends during the COVID-holidays.
By the way, our next Chat will be an important one: Kids and Online Pornography: What Parents Need to Know. It’s at noon PST on Tuesday, August 3. You can register here.