We're excited to share this post from the man who brought text messaging to the U.S. He's got some great advice for you... and it involves elves!
In American folklore, a Christmas elf is a diminutive creature that lives with Santa Claus in the North Pole and acts as his helper. Santa's elves are often said to make the toys in Santa's workshop and take care of his reindeer, among other tasks.
I have been working with great people, and maybe some elf’s too, in the media literacy space for many years. It dates back to the time I helped launch text messaging services in the U.S. with some great colleagues. You remember, back before Santa had email and a website and before NORAD tracked his sleigh by RADAR and assisted GPS. I knew we were changing things and that new techniques were going to be needed to manage a fully connected world. We anticipated that the way people communicated with one another would change dramatically, but did not expect phones being overused, interrupting sleep, changing the dinner table dynamic, or disrupting classrooms. Higher prices, big phones, and slow data speeds made overuse a future problem. Texts, streaming video and social media were years in the future.
Now it is difficult to imagine a world without them. Many feel we are better off due to this incredible innovation. New and increasingly unfettered communications bring great benefits as well as some challenges. I hope to offer some simple tips to assist you as you shepherd children through this wireless wonderland of connectivity (couldn’t resist).
A recent study speaks to that. Most parents feel the benefits far outweigh the risks of phones and smart phones, tablets, etc. They are, however, less sure about the benefits of social media. Parents are growing in confidence that they know what their kids are doing online (keeping in mind that phone/smartphone means online now). Most parents have rules and guidelines for online use, things like time limits and family contracts. 1 in 3 use some form of "Parental Control." Interestingly, of those who cited that they don’t use parental controls, one of the biggest reasons was that they trust their kids. Also of note, there seems to be a relationship between parent’s confidence in knowing what their kids do online and their use of parental controls. I suspect that as kids grow older the gap in parental awareness and knowledge compared to their actual online activity increases, and that is mostly a good thing as they grow in responsibility and resilience and, hopefully, through increased attention to teaching them lessons in digital literacy.
There are many excellent resources to help you take care of your re