Tech parenting 2009

Just a heads-up on something that might be useful to parents: bNetS@vvy, a project of the National Educational Association Health Information Network, asked me to write "Net Savvy Parenting in the New Year: Five Things You Need to Know" for its Web site and newsletter. Here are two more things we can look forward to:

* More and more virtual worlds. There are more than 150 kids' and teens' virtual worlds now or soon-to-be available, and all the videogame online services – Sony Home, Xbox Live, and Nintendo Wii's "Mii's" – have avatars moving around in some semblance of virtual worlds. This is a serious trend: fun, compelling, but – as with anything online – involving a certain degree of risk. Parents will want to look into what those avatars can look like and do (what state of dress or undress and what actions and communications they're allowed). See also "Top 8 work-arounds of kid virtual-world users."
* More and more mobile. This can't be news to any parent with a kid hounding him or her for a cellphone. Unless the Web is blocked (as it can be by every major cellphone carrier), everything that's online is also on more and more phones – including social networking, blog posting, content uploading, media sharing, and video producing. But game consoles and media players are connected to the Net, too. So everything we online-safety advocates say about kids on the Web holds for kids on just about any other connected device too. Wherever they are, the Internet is – including friends' houses, where your rules don't apply.

Along these (parenting) lines, see also a Live Discussion my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid and I had with parents at the Washington Post last month.


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