MySpace has quadrupled its estimated number of registered sex offenders posting profiles on the site, from its May estimate of 7,000 to a current tally of 29,000. The pages of identified offenders have been deleted. What does this news mean for parents? How do we assess risk and keep it in perspective, and what best practices should be implemented on family, corporate and societal levels to keep kids safe?… Read more
Now I have heard everything. On top of all the duties that moms are supposed to do, some are now babysitting their kids' Webkinz online pets while the children are away at summer camp.
In the world of overintensive parenting and martyred moms, can we all agree that spending a half hour to an hour a day caring for pretend critters is a good place to draw the line at ridiculous demands that are made of our time? (Of course there is no mention of dads being asked to take over this ridiculous "duty.")
Webkinz never die but … Read more
My grandparents lived very long lives. My mother's father was born in 1893, grew up on a sheep ranch in Australia, fought for the British in World War I, suffered numerous life-threatening calamities and collisions as a semi-professional adventurer, and lived 86 years. My father's parents both lived to the age of 96. And my mother's mother lived to be more than 100 years old. She was a professional musician who played in the big bands, backing movies like Abbott and Costello's Here Come the Co-eds and played most famously in Phil Spitalny's Hour of Charm All Girl Orchestra, chronicled in the book Swing Shift. (Sadly that book was written after the memories of most of the sources had begun to degrade.)… Read more
When you think of a parenting and technology blog, you might expect lots of posts about new gadgets for kids. But I have found that the biggest impact that technology has had on my "parenting" life isn't in my relationship with my child, it's in my identity as a mother. And rather than being about gadgets, for me technology is primarily about relationships and sharing information.… Read more
A co-worker sent me a link to the kids pages at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Part of me is delighted that our government is trying to make itself more accessible to children. Indeed, next month I intend to take advantage of that very accessibility when our family visits Washington DC to see the three co-equal branches of our federal government and the various departments they operate. If we are lucky, we might even meet one or more of our elected representatives in person!
But part of me is mortified by the levels of propaganda filling pages that purport to be educational and the thought that millions of children may be exposed to such propaganda without thought or review by tech-savvy parents.… Read more
Among two-parent, Mom and Dad families, most women feel that the "Mom" role means that her brain becomes not only the family's collective memory store, but its search engine as well. Even Google can't answer questions such as:
"Mom, where's Princess Leia's shoe?" (At the bottom of the blue box in the playroom.)
"Honey, are we out of toilet paper?" (Look in the kids' bathroom.)
When are our property taxes due....when is my next dental check-up...what day is the dog's birthday?… Read more
As a previous generation of children was given the blanket advice "Don't talk to strangers," today's kids are told "never give out your personal information online." A new study suggests that this well-intentioned advice is not sufficient to protect children from unwanted sexual solicitation and harassment. The study comes to the controversial conclusion that sharing information online is not correlated with victimization. Many other online safety experts maintain that privacy protection is always a good first line of defense, though clearly not the only step.
The study, published in the February 2007 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and reported by the AP, found that victimization is likely to be associated with online behavior such as talking about sex with people met online, or intentionally embarrassing someone else on the Internet. … Read more
Intergenerational tech musings today: The New York Times has an interesting report about new advances in hearing aid technology. Companies are motivated to meet the needs of aging baby boomers facing progressive hearing loss.
But how to overcome the stigma of hearing aid use for this potential market of 78 million people? Recent innovation has led to new devices that look more like Bluetooth headsets or iPod headphones than older models that resembled "a chewed Circus Peanut."… Read more
My recent posting about child abuse concerns inherent in "$100 laptop" distribution in the developing world elicited strong responses both in favor and against my position. A new report about the ties between a live Webcam chat site, Stickam.com, and a large online pornography conglomerate underlines the seriousness of these risks, hitting us close to home here in the United States.… Read more
I don't know about you, but there was a lot of excitement at the Tiemann household when this image popped up on the screen. It meant that nights of field work, evenings of programming, and a weekend of multimedia production all pointed at one, inescapable conclusion: my crazy bat project was a SUCCESS and the promise I made to my daughter was KEPT!!
First things first. If you have been following this blog, you know that a week ago I had the crazy idea of trying to record bats. After finally having an opportunity to use my aforementioned SONY PMC-D1, and after spending another few hours trying to convince myself I had captured something, in the end I felt a bit like one of the members of the Warren Commission looking at the Zapruder film and asking "you want me to make a finding based on this?" If I was going to convince my daughter that we had, in fact, captured and identified bat sounds beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was going to take more than a few suspicious noises of post-processed audio before I could be satisfied that the burden of proof could be met. In the days after my first blog posting, things were looking fairly bleak for the project, but I was determined to prove that with a little technology (a little more than you might suspect), I could, in fact, make good.… Read more