Welcome to July! The middle third of summer when it’s so hot that it seems like a really solid idea to hide from the blazing heat with an afternoon of Netflix with the blinds shut.
If you choose to dabble in this, please consider binge watching the Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia on Netflix. My kids and I watched it last summer and loved it so much. Yes, I’m suggesting binge watching something on a screen, with your kids. Numerous studies have shown that spending time on screens together can have a positive impact on families. The shared experience of playing a game or watching a show creates those connections and helps model appropriate screen behavior for kids.
And don’t tell me you never stayed up too late watching Netflix because you couldn’t hop off the Stranger Things train. The key is moderation, which is why Stranger Things only comes out once a year.
Here’s what you need to know this week about how technology is impacting families and kids.
READ: “Ryan Valle wasn’t one of the popular kids at Belmont High. But he had two advantages his victims did not. He was a boy, and therefore not as vulnerable to slut-shaming. And he understood how to harness technology to seem powerful, controlling and terrifying victims for years with only a smartphone and a computer.”
This is a long read but important for understanding how kids can be threatened and manipulated through “sextortion” and fear.
WHOA: Online shopping is full of digital tricks and signals to make you buy more stuff! True. But do you think that back in the 90’s the employees at Gap decorated the store with Christmas trees and changed the CD to all holiday music purely from a place of wanting to feel festive? No. Retail sales tricks have always been there, but now they’re evolving in a way that makes you “add to cart” with lightning speed.
As always, when pondering your digital life you should ask yourself “am I running the show, or is the show running me?”
READ: Private messaging apps may soon have a security backdoor that would allow law enforcement agencies to conduct more thorough investigations of crimes. Privacy advocates say those backdoors could be abused by malicious parties.
WATCH: This interview with teens about striving for the perfect photo and the tricky social landscape of Instagram is hard to watch. But I wonder, how much of seeking the perfect photo are kids also learning from watching their parents?
TRY: Getting more sleep by trying these tricks related to your blue-light emitting screens.
READ: “We know that a worrying number of children are being contacted via livestreaming apps, such as TikTok, by adults who use them as a gateway to groom and harm young people,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “Our research found that that a quarter of 40,000 children (seven- to 16-year-olds) have livestreamed online with someone they have never met, and one in 20 children had been asked to take their clothes off.”
Don’t let the apps and habits that seem juvenile and silly lull you into thinking they are also harmless.
READ: Art versus pornography has been complicated long before Facebook and Instagram arrived.
MAKE: A summer bucket list. Full of offline fun. You’ve still got time. Consider some of these.