ZABRA #BeCyberAware Twitter Chat: Social Media and Digital Parenting Resource List


One of the things I enjoy most about my work is having the opportunity to talk with parents, educators and brands to dispel some of the myths or fears around teen use of social media.

Tonight I’m going to be participating in a digital parenting Twitter chat hosted by Zabra that will be moderated by Josh Shipp.

The event starts at 7pm EST and you can participate through the hashtag #BeCyberAware. I hope you’ll join us for a lively and informative discussion.

No matter the audience, my message is pretty consistent: Don't panic! I'm frequently asked to share some of my favorite digital teens & parenting links, tips and other resources.

So here we go! I've sorted through my bookmarks and tweets and put together this (hopefully) handy handout. Feel free to tweet it or share it with anyone you think would find it helpful.


Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach

Young Adults Communication on Social Media

INFOGRAPHIC: Golden Rules for Social Media Use by Teens

INFOGRAPHIC: Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat –How Teens Use Social Media

Southern Poverty Law Center | There Are No Bullies

Southern Poverty Law Center | Bullying Quiz

Facebook Lets Teens Post Publicly: Why That's a Good Thing

Digital Citizenship Includes Rights as Well as Responsibilities

Beware of the Internet Safety Industrial Complex

INFOGRAPHIC: How Millennials Are Using Social Media for Good

INFOGRAPHIC: Teens, Social Media & Privacy

Alert: Your SnapChat Photos Aren’t So Secret



Facebook for Educators & Community Leaders Guide  

Facebook for Educators Handouts

Facebook 101: Digital Citizenship

It’s Always Sunny on Facebook



The CDC reports that 60 percent of high school students claim that they have though about committing suicide, and around nine percent of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once.

Whatever the causes of teen suicide, it is important to note that the pressures of teenage living can lead to suicide. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

  • 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,

  • 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

Many times parents may not know that their child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. There are so many resources available for teens in crisis. Here are some organizations leading the charge to help teens in crisis.

It's important to have the discussion with your kids to let them know if they or one of their friends are suffering from depression or threatening to harm themselves they need to immediately tell an adult, teacher or direct them to one of these crisis providers. If they feel there is an eminent threat, call 911.

Facebook 101: How To Report Suicidal Intentions

Crisis Text Line: Get Help Now

ReachOut USA

Trevor Project: Warning Signs of Suicide  

Trevor Project: Get Help Now

To Write Love on Her Arms: Get Help Now



Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV

Reality TV Tip Sheet for Parents

What Pop Culture is Teaching Your Boys About Masculinity

Boys, the Media and Body Image: An Open Letter to The Ellen Show



Parents Guide to Facebook

48% of Parents Believe the Internet is a Good Contribution to Their Children’s Lives

Social Networking Tips for Parents

Empowering Parents Through Technology

Facebook Security and Safety Resources for Parents

Facebook for Parents

Connecting with the Facebook Parenting Duo

Why Anti-Bullying Programs Are Failing

INFOGRAPHIC: School Bullying

What Parents Need to Know About & Kik

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation Launches 'The Voice' in Pediatric Hospitals in Atlanta and Philadelphia

image from Ryan Seacrest, known in Hollywood circles as the busiest (and nicest) man in showbiz and host of American Idol, has launched the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF).

The mission of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) is to enhance the quality of life for seriously ill and injured children through unique programs that utilize multimedia and interactive platforms to enlighten, entertain and educate.

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RSF’s first initiative is to build broadcast media centers, named THE VOICE, within pediatric hospitals for children to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media as well as contribute positively to the healing process.


The Voice media centers have already opened in Atlanta and Philadelphia, with plans to eventually build up to 10 of the broadcast centers at pediatric hospitals around the country.


In addition, RSF will also reach out to the community and involve students from local journalism schools, colleges and universities to provide them with the opportunity to gain first hand experience in broadcasting, programming and operating a multimedia center.

There's lots of research in the educational media space on how the use of multimedia, social and digital technologies allows young people see themselves as an active participant, in the pilot's seat or director's chair, as they chart new connections between diverse and often unpredictable worlds of knowledge.

This is especially important for children who are critically ill. They spend so much time in the hospital letting doctors, nurses and other medical techs deciding what and when they do just about anything.

To be critically ill means giving up control. A lot of control. 'The Voice' project is important because it's the only part of a child's stay in the hospital where they--not the doctors or nurses--are in control.

They get to decide what song to play. They get to decide what button to push. Most importantly, it's a part of their day that doesn't revolve around heavy life threatening decisions, medicines, needles or any of the hard work of being a patient.

It's just fun. And that's the best medicine of all.

Connect with the Seacrest Foundation on Twitter and Facebook

Exchange 2.0: The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration

image from The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration was developed to help teachers use the Internet to "reach out" globally. 

In his address to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2010, Secretary Arne Duncan stated:

We must improve language learning and international education at all levels if our nation is to continue to lead in the global economy to help bring security and stability to the world and to build stronger and more productive ties with our neighbors….We have never been more aware of the value of a multiliterate, multilingual society, a society that can appreciate all that makes other cultures and nations distinctive, even as it embraces all that they have in common.”

This Guide has been prepared as part of the Department of Education's effort to expand global awareness through collaboration between students and teachers in the US with their peers around the world.  

On these pages, teachers will find many projects and suggestions to begin or expand classroom projects that reach across the globe and enable students to learn WITH the world, as well as about it.

In each section of this Guide we have also provided links to elementary, middle and high school projects and links to organizations that are involved in international education via the Internet and Web 2.0 tools.

Infographic: Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.image from

 A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements.

His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.


This animate was adapted from a talk given at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.

Social Identity, Knowledge Management & Member Roles in Online Communities

image from“The basic idea of the Web is that an information space through which people can communicate, but communicate in a special way: communicate by sharing their knowledge in a pool.

The idea was not just that it should be a big browsing medium. The idea was that everybody would be putting their ideas in, as well as taking them out.”    ~Tim Berners-Lee

As a community manager or social designer, it's vital to remember that there is a social identity within an group that is both individual and collective.

Community managers should let this process happen naturally to allow for the most meaningful communication to occur between peers and give members time to discover their role in the community.

Social Design in Community Spaces

 In their book, Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge (Harvard Business Press, 2009), Wenger, McDermott and Snyder outline the key strategies required to build a functioning, vibrant and healthy online community:

  • Design Your Community to Evolve: You can't dictate strict design constraints, but must leave it open so new members can shape and contribute to the culture.
  • Include Insiders and Welcome Outsiders: You need insiders who know the purpose for the community and how it works. Yet at the same time, you need new members and their ideas to keep the community vital.
  • Plan for Different Levels of Participation: I'll dig deeper on this point later in this post, but the key takeaway is to remember that only a small 'core group' (10%-15%) will be actively involved in the day-to-day functions of the group.
  • Plan for Private and Public Community Spaces: Creating "private" spaces for one-on-one focused interactions or private meetings should be a key element of your social design. Public spaces are equally important as they give members to engage, share knowledge and draw new members to join the community.
  • Create Value: Online communities and groups must generate value for their participants. Solicit feedback from members and find out what you can to improve it.
  • Combine the Old and the New: Communities need membership continuity to foster their shared identies and preserve their knowledge.
  • Community Rhythm: There will be periods of greater and lesser activity--this is normal and desirable. Groups will naturally formulate their own culture and patterns of interaction.

Member Roles in Online Communities/Social Networks

Each group member wil bring a unique set of experiences, sources of information and level of participation in the community. For example, there will be some members who naturally become the group organizers because of their ability to keep track of details. Those who have artistic abilities will find their personal identity as they offer creative input.

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The exchange of knowledge and experience transforms a group of people into a community as members begin to appreciate the expertise and perspective of each member.

As members interact, they develop relationships, shared values and interests.

View 'Member Roles Chart' Large



When designing for an online community, groups must be given time to build an identity. Each community is unique because of the individuality of its members.

Because of this distinctiveness members within a group must have an opportunity to discover what their contribution will be and which role they will play by interacting socially with one another. Allowing a community to create a sense of identity is a critical.

Finally, it's important to remember that a community built around a shared practice is a living entity that is always evolving. In other words, a well-designed social space should provide users with the tools and leave it to them to construct their own meaning and level of interaction within the community.

Related: Supporting Informed Participation, Social Engagement & Collaboration in Online Communities

Mentor 2.0: LinkedIn Career Explorer Helps College Students Map A Professional Path

LinkedIn.CareerExplorer LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with more than 80 million members globally, today launched Career Explorer.

The Career Explorer tool provides current college students with unique, data-driven insights to help them build their careers. Career Explorer enables college students to chart potential career paths, build a professional network and gather valuable insights into the careers they are interested in pursuing.

Career paths are easily mapped out for students, based on aggregate paths that LinkedIn's 80 million members have taken before them.

Additional resources for college students, such as relevant job opportunities, the type of education and experience required, and relevant salary information are also available via Career Explorer.

Career Explorer Features:

Career Mapping: Explore the paths taken by professionals in various careers. Students can also save and create multiple career paths with Career Explorer.

Connections: See who in your network can help advance your career within a certain field or company, and meet potential mentors.

Statistics: Learn interesting facts and statistics about potential professions.

Jobs: Career Explorer has a module that shows you not only relevant job openings, but also how you can use your network to secure or find more information about those positions.

Follow Potential Employers: Career Explorer highlights the LinkedIn Company Profiles of potential employers. You can then "follow" those companies and receive updates about them in your news feed. The updates include job postings at the company as well as notifications when people get hired or leave the company.

Related: Did LinkedIn Just Become the New King of Social Search?

Houle: Your Kids Are Different and It's Okay!

20100319-david-houle-millennials-300x205.jpgFuturist David Houle has an interesting series of articles over on that explore the world of Millennials and the challenges of raising kids in the digital age.

The thing that I really like about Houle's column is that he takes a rational and, unlike so many other guru's, non-alarmist approach to the subject.

There are so many fear based stories out there about kids, digital technology and social media, so it's refreshing to see such a balanced approach on the subject.

The one area where I disagree slightly with Houle is his use of the term "digital natives." I'm sure from his perspective and based on his conversations with CEO's and other corporate types, that Millennials in the workplace, compared to their older colleagues, appear to be super digital, technology gifted whiz kids.

Coined by author Marc Prensky in 2001, the phrase has its usefulness in helping us adults grasp the major media shift we're experiencing and embrace young people's openness to it.

But two leading new-media thinkers – Sonia Livingstone of the London School of Economics and Henry Jenkins at the University of Southern California – both have concerns about the phrase becoming too definitive.

Sure kids can work an iPod or update their status on Facebook, but what about using technology in an authentic, useful context? But when it comes to using technology in a situated context to complete a task, navigating privacy settings and all around digital literacy, or using technology at school kids still come up a bit short

Over the last decade there has been lots of talk, in both the press and educational circles, about the technological prowess of digital natives. We've heard a lot about what's exciting in educational technology, but the reality is that teachers still see a lot of kids struggling to use technology.

In the end, what's important here, and I'm sure Mr. Houle would agree, is to take a balanced position when it comes to kids and technology. As a parent or teacher, don't be afraid to jump into the technology and social media pool and get your feet wet. Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your kids and  learn more about how they are using technology, mobile phones and social media in their lives.

Most importantly, don't panic! As a wise man once said, 'your kids are different...and it's okay!'

Image Credit:

Weekly Wrap: Hello Kitty Death Watch, University Ditches Kindle, Facebook Community Pages, Disney Tweets, Social Media ROI, Digital Parenting & More!

Barking.robot.iconFor Many Blacks, Twitter Enables a Vibrant Social Life: Some researchers have surmised that African-Americans might use Twitter more heavily because they use it in a more conversational way than other groups.

Twitter's "trending topics" - popular subjects on a given day - often center on issues African-American users are tweeting about. [NewsObserver]

Instead of Banning Your Kids from Social Networks, Consider Teaching Responsible Usage: I’m glad my parents didn’t ban me from them. I’m glad that my parents taught me basic principles to live my life by, principles that have served me both online and offline.

They weren’t particularly tech savvy. They didn’t hover over me at all moments. The family computer wasn’t locked down and it didn’t have any monitoring software. But, they taught me how to be safe as a kid. []

More Cyberbullying on Facebook Than Rest of the Web: Thirty-two percent of online teens have experienced some form of harassment via the Internet, a problem also known as "cyberbullying."

According to recent data, 15% of online teens have had private material forwarded without permission, 13% have received threatening messages and 6% have had embarrassing photos posted without permission. [NYT]

Facebook Privacy Research: There is significant concern about the exposure of personal data to facebook’s advertising partners and to external sites, often governed by the decision of friends rather than the personal subject of the data. [Frances Bell]

Hello Kitty Death Watch: Hello Kitty fatigue is hitting Japan first, and hard, the company indicated. Analysts say part of the problem is that Sanrio has oversold Hello Kitty, which appears on products as various as T-shirts, toilet paper and toasters. [NYT]

How Facebook’s ‘Community Pages’ and Privacy Changes Impact Brands: While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do.  I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them. [Web Strategy]

Tweets From Disneyland: Our weekly roundup of some of the best--and the worst--tweets from the park that's only sometimes the happiest place on earth. [OC Weekly]

Business School Ditches Kindle DX: The Kindle isn't doing as well in academic environments as Amazon—and educators—had originally hoped. The Darden Business School at the University of Virginia is near the end of its Kindle "experiment," already concluding that students are not into the Kindle when it comes to classroom learning. They are, however, fans of the Kindle when it comes to using it as a personal reading device. [Ars Technia]

The Real ROI of Social Media: If you're asking the ROI question about social media and expecting to be able to show it all on a spreadsheet, you're still looking at social media as a channel, most likely for just one or two business functions, such as marketing or recruiting.

While it's true that social media can be used in that way, it has become something else entirely: an essential communication utility. What's the ROI of the telephone? Or email? It's a ridiculous question, right? [American Express OPEN]

The Myth of the Digital Native

“If we over-estimate their skills we underestimate the support they need and misunderstand their practices.”Dr. Sonia Livingstone

Over the last decade there has been lots of talk, in both the press and educational circles, about the technological prowess of "digital natives." We've heard a lot about what's exciting in educational technology, but the reality is that teachers still see a lot of kids struggling to use technology.

Sonia Livingstone 2010 Digital Media and Learning Conference Keynote

During her keynote at DML 2010, Dr. Sonia Livingstone (London School of Economics) shared the following examples from her research and interviews with both parents and kids on the difficulties "digital natives" face using technology:

  • Example: Going to a Web site–can take a half hour, involve parents & most give up.
  • Example: Parents thought their child was very savvy, but something about the style of her use didn't reveal her struggles. "Megan" is confident, but one can observe her many struggles while she uses technology.
  • Example: 17-year-old, quoted: "With books it's a lot easier to research. I can't really use the internet for studying." Another, "Every time I try to look for something, I can never find it. It keeps coming up with things that are completely irrelevant."
  • Example: Teens often didn't know how to change their privacy settings, unsure about what to click to manage this task. (Nervousness about unintended consequences: stranger danger, parental anxiety, viruses, crashed computers, unwanted advertising, etc.)

When it comes to youth and digital media we tend to be conservative in the type of content we give young people and far more aggressive when approaching them with digital media tools.

It’s important to remember that just because we include digital media doesn’t mean youth know how to make meaning or engage with these technologies.

Join Josh Shipp & Brooks Gibbs to Learn How to End Bullying Now

Josh Shipp just sent out an email about a webinar he's co-hosting with Brooks Gibbs about the epidemic of bullying--both online and offline--that is way to prevalent in our schools.

This is a great opportunity for educators, youth ministry, parents and anyone else who works with kids to learn how to prevent and respond to bullying.

Here's the scoop from Josh:

As you know, bullying is a HUGE problem in our country. 160,000 students skip school everyday in America to avoid being bullied. For those that are brave enough to go to school, 6 out of 10 of them witness bullying at least once a day.

When teens go to school, they are often going into a verbal war zone. The angry words of the bully are becoming more venomous. The bullies are also taking the dirty smack talking off campus and online.

It is online where ordinary students who have never bullied anyone, find themselves caught up in cyberbullying, causing serious damage to their enemy. As a result, the hurt is deeper now than ever.

That is why I'm hosting a free teleseminar on Thursday, April 29th with bullying expert Brooks Gibbs to share real solutions to END BULLYING. This program is being used by students, parents, and schools all over the country.

We have limited spots available, so please go here quickly and sign up for the FREE Teleseminar to END BULLYING:
Here's the link:

Update: Here's the link to the Josh Shipp & Brooks Gibbs 'End Bullying Now' Teleseminar!

Mind the (Generation) Gap

"The problem is that in most companies, the Web is considered a strange and unnatural thing, and the process of designing it is disconnected.

In fact, there's an age gap where many of the very senior people in companies, who are making decisions about these things, aren't online.

So they're approving, looking at, reviewing things that they're never accessing themselves, nor are they part of the culture of how people use the Web." | Bran Ferren

Trend Watch: Tim Stock on 'Culture Networks'

The idea is that there is a flattening of time and space and therefore a flattening of our traditional understanding of the relationship between subculture and pop culture. The new model of interaction is more ambiguous and requires a more expressive than reflexive view of how influence works.

This lecture on culture networks is part of Tim's Analyzing Trends class at Parsons the New School of Design.

Jamie Oliver's TED Talk: How We're Killing Our Kids With Bad Food “I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” -Jamie Oliver


For his contributions to better eating at school, his social enterprise restaurant Fifteen and his vision to change the way kids eat at home and at school, TED has awarded Jamie Oliver their 2010 prize.


“We’ve got to start teaching our kids about food in schools. Period.”


Please take a few minutes and listen to Jamie's TED talk about kids' health, school lunches, how you as a parent (or teacher, auntie or uncle) can take concrete actions to help your kids make better nutritional choices.

This is a powerful wake-up call for all of us. Not just kids.

If you want to join Jamie's Food Revolution USA, go sign the petition and get the word out to other parents, teachers and your family. Jamie has put together a "Food Charter" (pdf) to help you get started.

Jamie has also put together an informative handout (see below) that you can read to learn more about how obesity and diet is affecting America's health, plus food facts and information about the federal school lunch program.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Facts and Figures on Kids Health & Childhood Obesity

Get involved by seeing what food is being served to your kids at school. Talk to the lunch ladies, the principal, the PTA and the school board and tell them you want quality, fresh, healthy food served at school.

It's proven that real food promotes more effective learning. If you want better health for your kids the junk food must leave the school. And yes, that means chocolate milk too!