Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Talking Back To Facebook

Talking Back To Facebook

When I was a kid we had three commercial channels and one
educational channel on tv. Movies were shown in down town theaters,
often beautifully constructed and adorned generations ago, and at
drive ins. Parents let you know what you could and couldn't see.
Coveted electronics were record players and transistor radios. I had
no idea growing up what my kids would have access to. I bet at least
a few of you can relate.
Modern technology is quite the mixed blessing for today's
families. On one hand there are amazing opportunities for learning,
communication, and discovery. On the other hand, unless you've been
hibernating in a cave for at least a decade, you're as much aware of
the challenges as I am.
Parents today have lots of questions:
*Is it dangerous to post cute baby pictures online?
*How can youngsters with older siblings be sheltered from age
inappropriate material?
*How do you maintain your household's media rules when your child is
on a play date?
*Does my child need a cell phone?
*How old is old enough for Facebook and YouTube?
*How do I shield my kids from online porn?
If you have those questions or similar ones, I highly recommend
James Steyer's Talking Back To Facebook. It's a highly readable
volume that intersperses theory and advice with anecdote. In addition
to being an authority in the field of media safety, Steyer has street
creds. He's a father of four who faces the same challenges the rest
of us do.
Talking Back To Facebook is divided into two sections. The
first is the more theoretical. Steyer eloquently discusses the
dangers he sees: implications for relationships and self image,
potential for attention and addiction issues, privacy loss dangers,
the collection of info on kids to fine tune sales pitches, and the
loss of innocence. He also suggests ways of embracing technology's
benefits. If you're tempted to skip this part don't. It builds an
excellent foundation for what is to come.
The second part is more slanted to the practical. The timeline
of birth to fifteen is broken up into two and three year segments.
Each one contains:
*a developmental overview
*frequently asked questions and answers
*guidelines for parent and child.
I think this highly readable volume can be very useful for
parents in this brave new world of lightning fast media evolution.
On a personal note, my personal media favorite right now is Netflix.
It gives the kids and me access to movies and episodes of favorite
shows for those times we end up to home at the same time. Still I'm
glad when I was a child we went out to movies. There were the rowdy
Saturday afternoon kids' matinees where no parent dared to tread:
horror double features, prize drawibgs, snacks to feast on including
penny candy, big boys throwing popcorn from the balcony and laughing
at evading angry ushers... There were the dress up family movies,
usually put out by Disney, often paired with dinner at Chicken in a
Basket. My favorites, though, were the drive ins. Balanced meals
gave way to pizza and soda, kids swarmed the playground before the
show, and you could fall asleep on the way back because you were
already in pajamas. Since movies were not constantly available they
were something truly special.
A great big shout out goes out to Joanne Harriman, incoming Orono
Superintendent of Schools. I was observing her at a recent board
meeting. She is taking to her job like a duck to water. I foresee
much good accruing to Orono schools as she takes command. You go, Girl!
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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