I got an interesting call the other day, asking for commentary on a brand new application that allows you to see tweets, instagram streams and any other geotagged, shared material. If you want to see what your neigbors are posting, or what people at your child’s school are posting, just sign up for Geofedia . You can also find some of this information through the apps themselves, but this makes it much easier. I’ve perused some middle and high schools and seen images like this…
A momement of sharing from a suburban high schoolSo NBC news
So NBC News Chicago invited me to comment, and you can see the full newsclip with my comment here:
As well as a little more of the interview here:
If this creeps you out, don’t geo-tag your posts! I can only imagine that within weeks, this will mean that someone will walk up to you in a store to say: “I see you are tweeting about wanting a warmer coat. We have one on sale.” The journalistic potential is incredbible, but the marketing potential is what this app seems designed to capture.
In her TED talk, Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something describes in harrowing detail how kids responded to her advocacy texts with serious and heartbreaking calls for help.
“I think it [texting]might be a lifeline.”
Reminds me of McLuhan’s oft repeated “Medium is the Message” Something about the intimacy, the silence and the immediacy of this medium makes it possible for kids to be so open that they would send desperate texts in response to a social advocacy campaign. Lublin responded to their cries for help, describing cutting, incest and other serious problems, by creating a text crisis hotline, which collects data about teen experiences, as well as responding with resources to teens’ individual issues. Lublin compares this to a census or a crime map that tracks issues such as date rape, or self-injury.
If so, should they let their kids know they are doing it?
Should they have their passwords?
Use “spy” software?
Here are some ideas parents have shared with me:
• Computer in a public spot (no laptops or computers in bedrooms).
• Making sure kids feel safe talking with parents about what they are doing/seeing/experiencing.
• Making password sharing w/ parents a condition of use.
• Relying on friends and family members to “friend” their child and keep an eye on things.
• Reminding kids that they can do whatever they want when they buy their OWN computer.
Please share your thoughts…
I think this article raises important questions—For example, in the case of the young woman in the article who claims to feel safer because her parents monitor her…How might parents mentor kids to feel safe online more independently?
I just went to a great talk by Mike Lanza about his book Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into A Place For Play. He is more strongly opposed to screentime than I am, but I thought many of his points about facilitating kids’ resilience, independence, leadership and fun by creating inviting playspace, building connections with neighbors and then sending the kids out to play are terrific ideas. I especially like how Lanza considers the lack of opportunities for kids do do things like a pickup game or other unsupervised play to be a social problem that all families need to think about and proactively work to change.
One of the positives Lanza mentions about cellphones is that they let kid have a longer tether from “hovering” parents. More room to roam. He sees the screen world/virtual world as taking too much away from the “real” world…but he also cited some examples of positive family time with technology as a basis for exploring the “real world.” My own orientation would be to draw the line between real and virtual worlds as a little more wavy…
My key takeaways were a) excitement that we already live in a “playborhood” with great neighbors and lots of community b) Many of the ideas about changing our physical space to encourage more independent play are do-able, and don’t have to be super expensive.
One idea that I love is a having a 1 week “block camp” to let all the kids on your block know each other. I could see that really taking off on our block. We already have a great 4th of July parade, and some other really nice traditions… I recommend checking out Lanza’s book and blog!