Family Online Safety Institute: 90% of parents have discussed Internet safety with their kids

According to the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 90% of parents have had conversations about Internet safety with their kids? Have you?

Check out this video from FOSI called “Go Figure” to learn more about the digital habits of your teens.


Thanks to the Facebook Safety team for sharing this video!

Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

Retro-tv According to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life project (Lenhardt & Madden, 2005), more than one-half of all teens have created media content, and roughly one-third of teens who use the Internet have shared content they produced.

In many cases, these teens are actively involved in what we are calling participatory cultures.

A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.

A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created). Henry Jenkins: Participatory Culture & Media Education

A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these forms of participatory culture, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.

Access to this participatory culture functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which youth will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter school and the workplace.

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Parents


TRUSTe, provider of the leading privacy trustmark, has announced the results of a survey of parents and their teenagers on social networking behaviors – the first national social networking privacy survey to be conducted on both parents and their teens that also measures parental expectations against actual teen behavior.

The study is titled “The Kids are Alright,” as it reflects in many ways parents and teens doing the right things on social networks.

The survey found that overwhelming 98 percent of parents indicate that both their teen’s privacy – as well as control over their own personal information – is important, very important or extremely important when using social media websites.

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Parents

The majority of parents and teens said they feel confident about the safeguards they have in place for their Facebook accounts, although 89 percent of parents want default privacy settings on all teen accounts to limit the amount of information that is public and to restrict advertiser and application access to their teen’s information.

Parents are looking for more direct ways to control their teen’s information and overall want greater control. Not surprisingly, most parents spend less time than teens on social networking and Facebook, although the majority of both groups checked Facebook at least once a day and frequently more often.

Related: Digital Parenting Resources: Teens, Social Media & Cyberbullying

Global ‘Digital Life’ research project reveals major changes in online behavior The largest ever global research project into people’s online activities and behaviour – Digital Life – was launched earlier this week by TNS, the world’s biggest custom research company.

Covering nearly 90 per cent of the world’s online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries, the study reveals major changes in the world’s online behaviour.

Among the key findings of the study are:

  • Globally, people who have on-line access have digital sources as their number one media channel. 61% of online users use the internet daily against 54% for TV, 36% for Radio and 32% for Newspapers.
  • Online consumers in rapid growth markets have overtaken mature markets in terms of engaging with digital activities. When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%) and China (54%) have much higher levels of digital engagement than mature markets such as Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%). This is despite mature markets usually having a more advanced internet infrastructure.
  • Activities such as blogging and social networking are gaining momentum at huge speed in rapid growth markets. The research shows four out of five online users in China (88%) and over half of those in Brazil (51%) have written their own blog or forum entry, compared to only 32% in the US.
  • The Internet has also become the default option for photo sharing among online users in rapid growth markets, particularly in Asia. The number of online consumers who have ever uploaded photos to social networks or photo sharing sites is 92% in Thailand, 88% in Malaysia and 87% in Vietnam, whilst developed markets are more conservative. Less than a third of online consumers in Japan (28%) and under half of those in Germany (48%) have uploaded photos to such sites.

TNS Digital Life: Drivers of Online Behaviour

  • Growth in social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile. Mobile users spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email. The drive to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networks to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function.
  • The digital landscape will change in the future. Research shows that consumers expect their use of social networking on mobiles to increase more than use through PC. In the US, for example, a quarter (26%) of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a PC to increase in the next 12 months compared to over a third (36%) who will be looking to their mobile to increase usage. In Australia the figures are 26% and 44% respectively, and in Sweden they are 28% and 53%.

TNS Digital Life: The North American Digital Landscape  

  • Online consumers are spending more time on social networking sites such as Facebook. In rapid growth markets such as Latin America, the Middle East and China, the average time spent, per week, on social networking is 5.2 hours compared to only 4 hours on email.
  • Online consumers in mature markets remain more reliant on email, spending 5.1 hours checking their inboxes compared to just 3.8 hours on social networking. The heaviest users of social networking are in Malaysia (9 hours per week), Russia (8.1 hours per week) and Turkey (7.7 hours per week).
  • When it comes to who has more friends, online consumers in Malaysia tops the list with an average of 233 friends in their social network, closely followed by Brazilians with 231. The least social are the Japanese with just 29 friends and Tanzanians have, on average, 38 in their circle of friends. Surprisingly, Chinese consumers only have an average of 68 friends in their networks despite being heavy users of social networking sites, indicating a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships.

Trend Watch: New Television & the Media Blender

Retro-tv Every electronic mass media format introduced in the 20th Century, including film, radio, and television, is now in the process of absorption into digital telecommunications networks.

To survive in the 21st century, the companies that produce and distribute traditional media types must adapt to an entirely new environment. The new networks include digital broadband provided by cable television system operators and telecommunications companies offering wireline and wireless access.


From the plasma screen in your media room, to the portable device in your pocket, to the side of a high-rise in Manhattan, savvy broadcasters are creating comprehensive "ecosystems" for rich media content with multiple consumer touch-points and immersive interactivity, blending television, web, movies and gaming to redefine the experience of television now and for the next generation.

The 2009 5D Conference explored the intersection of design and technology in the creation of "new television", the experience in front of the screen and the experience in the screen created by the blending of media and the interaction of the consumer.

In this clip, Robert Tercek addresses the vectors of change across all platforms of media and looks at the sphere of media industries that have been absorbed by the telephony sphere.

Common Sense Media Launches 'Power to the Parent' – A National Media Awareness Campaign

Common.sense.mediaCommon Sense Media, a nonprofit that provides families with information about media and technology, launches its new multiplatform public awareness campaign Power to the Parent.

 Designed to educate parents about the impact that media has on kids' live and the importance of parents (and parenting) in this picture, the campaign is supported by a $40 million TV ad campaign, online manner ads, a microsite, and a social media component.

The goal of Power to the Parent is to get parents to be involved in kids' lives and how they are using media to help them make educated and safe choices when using various media. The campaign includes three parent-targeted TV spots, tilted Role Models, Stadium, and Time Spent, which are already airing and will continue to run over the next year.

Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, NBC Universal, and Time Warner Cable are supporting the TV campaign. The online initiative is supported by Common sense Media's partners Yahoo!, Facebook, GreatSchools, and Hulu, all of which will offer a connection to the campaign microsite via banner ads, links, and other content.

How Angry Birds Became a Hit [VIDEO]

Angry.bird.logo I'm totally addicited. I have dreams about Angry Birds. I tweet about Angry Birds. I have opinions on which cartoon birds I like (those awesome yellow birds) and which ones I don't (those tucan-ish birds).

For those of you living in a cave, Angry Birds is the addictive game that has become the top iPhone app in the world.

The game has over 7 million downloads and is poised to be the next big entertainment franchise. Think Sponge Bob. Mark my words, Angry Birds is going to be huge.



Does Dr. Drew offer Angry Bird rehab yet?


Report: 90% of Tweens are Playing Online Games & Kids' Mobile and Social Media Use is on the Rise


Kids and Games: What Boys and Girls are Playing Today is a new report launched by M2 Research and youth marketing research firm KidSay. Survey data was collected from over 5,000 kids across the United States.

The report finds a significant increase in kids' online gaming and social media usage. 90 Percent of tweens are playing games online, with mobile and social media use on the rise, as well.

Some of the highlights of the report:

1. Social Networking: Social Networking is increasingly prevalent in children's lives. Facebook is now the favorite website among tween (8-11) boys and teen (12-15) girls.

2. Key Demographic and "Sweet Spot": Online games dominate for boys and girls ages 8-11. 91% of tween boys and 93% of tween girls play games online.

3. Nintendo Dominates Handheld Gaming Space: But thanks largely to the iPad and iPhone, Apple is becoming a significant player especially with girls.

4. Portable Platform Discrepancy: Sony's PSP has largest gender discrepancy. 17% of teen girls play games on the PSP compared to 44% of teen boys.

5. Strong Videogame Franchises: Franchises continue to flourish at the top of the "Favorites" list for boys and girls. The videogame franchise girls prefer is the Mario Series, with 20% of girls picking it as their favorite. Boys prefer Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, with 36% of teen boys picking it as their favorite game.

"We have found kids tend to play a wide variety of games, and their favorite games and gaming sites change often." explains Louise Curcio, M2 Research Analyst. "There are opportunities for companies, and we believe the kids market has been overlooked."

Infographic: What Americans Do Online


Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (43 percent increase) according to new research released today from The Nielsen Company.

The research revealed that Americans spend a third their online time (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.

Additional findings include:

  • Online games overtook personal email to become the second most heavily used activity behind social networks – accounting for 10 percent of all U.S. Internet time. Email dropped from 11.5 percent of time to 8.3 percent. (Source: Nielsen NetView)
  • Of the most heavily-used sectors, Videos/Movies (which includes video-specific and movie-related websites only – and is not inclusive of video streaming behavior elsewhere) was the only other to experience a significant growth in share of U.S. activity online. Its share of activity grew relatively by 12 percent from 3.5 to 3.9 percent. (Source: Nielsen NetView)
  • June 2010 was a major milestone for U.S. online video as the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark. The average American consumer streaming online video spent 3 hours 15 minutes doing so during the month. (Source: Nielsen VideoCensus)
  • Despite some predictions otherwise, the rise of social networking hasn’t pushed email and instant messaging into obscurity just yet. Although both saw double-digit declines in share of time, email remains as the third heaviest activity online (8.3 percent share of time) while instant messaging is fifth, accounting for four percent of Americans online time. (Source: Nielsen NetView)
  • Although the major portals also experienced a double digit decline in share, they remained as the fourth heaviest activity, accounting for 4.4 percent of U.S. time online. (Source: Nielsen NetView)

Togetherville: Designing a Social Web Experience for Kids

Togetherville.logo What is it?

Togetherville is a social networking experience intended for your younger children (5-10 year olds). The new service is designed to provide a training ground where parents can teach their kids important lessons about online communication, community building and what it means to be a good digital citizen.

The Togetherville community experience piggy-backs on the Facebook platform and allows grownups to guide their kids through an age-appropriate social networking experience, kid friendly content, moderate connections and interactions all in an ad-free environment.

How does it Work?

In Togetherville, grownups act as the moderator for new contacts, assuming the responsibility for inviting family members/friends and other kids' to join their child's online neighborhood. The 6-to 10-year-olds are invited to engage with their real-world friends, play games, watch videos, and create art.

Is it safe?

Togetherville is intended for kids who are too young for Facebook and is fully compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Kids' are *NOT connected* to anyone without their parents approval, so parents don't need to worry about 'stranger danger.'

Unlike other child oriented social networks, kids' use their real names instead of an alias. This is important because it teaches them to be responsible for their actions within the community. Since their identity isn't a secret, the thinking is that this will reduce the chances that they will engage in cyberbullying or other no-no behaviors.


Togetherville "Allowance"

Allowance is a new site feature that helps teach kids financial literacy while providing parents with a way to reward good behavior, both online and off.

Parents or other approved adults (family members, coaches) can give a child Togetherville currency called "T-bills," which can be spent on virtual goods, games or gifts within each child's unique Togetherville neighborhood.

Once they have T-bills, parents and adults can give Allowance to children for whom they are administrators. Kids and adults can use T-bills for virtual goodies, gifts and games.

As with any feature in Togetherville, a parent or other adult with administrative rights has complete control over who can give their child funds. In addition, just like in the offline world, a parent can suspend or eliminate a child's Allowance at any time.

Developing Healthy Media Habits

A lot of people will say that kids' don't need to be online and that they should go outside and play.

Think of it this way: too much of anything is bad. Too many hours playing video games or watching cartoons--not healthy! Eating too much ice cream, Taco Bell or drinking too much soda are also not a good thing.

It doesn't really matter if it's chocolate milk, riding your bike in the dark, watching too much TV or being online. As adults, we need to be the ones who help children develop healthy habits.

Social by Design

Think of Togetherville as a social networking apprenticeship where parents act as a Facebook "expert" who mentor and help their children through the experience of participating in a social networking community.

The situated learning theory argues that learning and knowledge acquisition takes place only when situated in a social and authentic context.

Ultimately this process –known as legitimate peripheral participation—moves the newcomer deeper into a community of practice leading them closer to acquiring the knowledge and skills required to be an expert. In Togetherville, young kids' will form a community of practice (and safety net) consisting of their peers, site moderators, and several parent "experts."

Cognitive apprenticeship is an instructional design and learning theory wherein the instructor (or parent), through socialization, models the skill or task at hand for the child. Kids' may also receive guidance from and learn from their peers.

The role of the parent is to help novices (in this case, your kids') clear cognitive roadblocks (Facebook/social networking) by providing them with the resources needed to develop a better understanding of social media. This process is called scaffolding.

Ultimately the kids will become an expert who no longer needs the scaffolding provided by Togetherville and/or parental guidance. In turn, they will have a better understanding of potential roadblocks and are now equipped the skills to navigate the world of social media/networking sites like Facebook.

Putting it All Together

In the end, what's important here 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, when it comes to kids and social networking, don't panic!

Infographic: Professors’ Use of Technology in Teaching

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The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement surveyed approximately 4,600 faculty members at 50 U.S. colleges and universities in the spring of 2009 to see how they are using new media and social technology in their classroom.

Based on these findings, it doesn't seem like too many professors' are integrating technology into their classroom. What do you think? Do these results surprise you?

Thanks to Dale for the heads up!

Related: In Google We Trust: Young Adults' Evaluation of Web Content

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:

Study: Video Games May Sap Attention Span

Parents who believe that playing video games is less harmful to their kids' attention spans than watching TV may want to reconsider -- and unplug the Xbox. Video games can sap a child's attention just as much as the tube, a new study suggests.

Elementary school children who play video games more than two hours a day are 67 percent more likely than their peers who play less to have greater-than-average attention problems, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Playing video games and watching TV appear to have roughly the same link to attention problems, even though video games are considered a less passive activity, the researchers say.

"Video games aren't less likely than television to be related to attention problems," says the lead author of the study, Edward Swing, a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology at Iowa State University, in Ames. "They were at least as strong as television at predicting attention problems."

However, the study doesn't prove that video games directly cause attention problems. It could be that kids who have short attention spans to begin with might be more likely to pick up a joystick than a book, for instance.


2010 Social Media Matters Report: Majority of Top Media Destinations Are Social

Social.montage According to research conducted by BlogHer and iVillage2010 Social Media Matters Study,” co-sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Ketchum, social sites are now a frequent destination for nearly three-quarters of Internet users.

Social Media Matters 2010

Respondents’ top daily media activities were social as well. Watching television is still on top, but Facebook was the next most common media destination visited every day.

The study found similar rates of usage among men and women, and pegged the percentage of weekly social media users at 73% of the online population.


Here are some of the other key findings in the 2010 Social Media Matters Study:

  • Blogs trail only search engines as the preferred media source for product-purchasing information for BlogHer users.
  • Among BlogHer users, 96 percent read blogs weekly or more often.
  • BlogHer users are more active than average women across the board on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • As for iVillage users, message boards and forums were second only to conversations with friends and family as the preferred source of product-purchasing information.
  • 73 percent of respondents from the iVillage community said they share topics on message boards and forums that they would not share on social networks. Of those, relationships (61 percent), health (45 percent), and work-related issues (39 percent) were the top topics they would not share on social networks.
  • 31% higher than the total online population for Gen X generation
  • 3.6 percent of iVillage community members post on message boards or forums every day.

Related: Millennials, Men Watch Most Online TV

Pew Research Center | Cyberbullying 2010

This talk provides an updated look at the research and definitions around bullying and cyberbullying and  draws upon the work of Amanda Lenhart from the Pew Internet Project, UNH's Crimes Against Children Research Center, the work of Internet Solutions for Kids as well as research by professors Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin.

Originally presented to the Youth Online Safety Working Group assembled by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), this talk unpacks both what current research can tell us about cyberbullying as well as where the gaps our understanding of this issue lie.

Related: Printable Handout: Digital Parenting Social Media & Internet Safety Resources