It’s a Digital World

En Espanol

Everyone needs computer and Internet skills in today’s global work environment. Becoming “digitally literate” can be fun and something the whole family can do together. So join in!

@ YOUR LIBRARY

  • Learn the digital landscape at your library. Many libraries offer classes for kids, teens and adults on digital photography, photo and video editing, social networking and on the hardware, software and online tools needed to create and share content.
  • Some public and school libraries offer iPads for use on-site. There are a number of apps, like “Read Me Stories” designed just for kids that allow for interaction and supplement reading aloud.
  • Connect your teens with Teen Tech Week each spring. Sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, Teen Tech Week highlights the technology available to teens at libraries and that librarians are qualified, trusted information professionals who can provide guidance and instruction to teens and their families.

AT HOME & OUT IN THE COMMUNITY

  • Go online together. Check out Great Websites for Kids, a site maintained by the Association for Library Service to Children to help kids discover sites that support their hobbies and interests. www.ala.org/greatsites.
  • Check out the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning from the American Association of School Librarians. The websites listed support topics kids and teens are studying as well as tools to create digital presentations. Visit www.ala.org/aasl/bestlist.
Screenshot: ABCYA.com

Librarians are trusted and useful sources of information for parents looking for websites for their children.

Great Websites for Kids, which is offered by The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) is a resource containing hundreds of links to exceptional websites for children.

Recently, new websites were added to this list.

The offerings recently added to the list include:

Family using the computer together

Privacy online means having control over information that is about you. Who can see information about you? Who can share information about you?

In conjunction with Choose Privacy Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, here are some tips on talking with your children about privacy.

1. Do a family privacy audit. Google your name and those of your children to learn what information already might be online about you.

Children at computer

According to the MacArthur Foundation, on an average day, primary school children spend as many hours engaged in media activity as they spend in school.  For many parents, managing their children's interactions with new technology is a confusing and overwhelming task.

Teen Tech Week logo

Today's libraries offer much more than books.

Enter your library and you will encounter a dazzling array of technology. CDs, DVDs and audiobooks are available for checkout. So are laptop computers and even e-readers.

Library users are taking full advantage of these resources. You will find people using the computers to conduct research, create resumes and complete homework assignments. Not to mention accessing their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Young child at computer

Children have increasing access to computers and other digital devices that can pull in the Internet.

This poses a challenge for parents who want to guide their children to websites that are not only safe but can help them in key areas like finding books to read or information they can use for a science fair project.

One great resource provided by librarians is the Great Web Sites for Kids, an online resource containing hundreds of links to outstanding websites for children.

Social Networking logos.

An old carpentry adage advises “measure twice, cut once.” The point? Be certain about what you are about to do before you do it. This message certainly holds true in the world of social media, which offers immediate gratification but also a permanent electronic footprint.

Read on to learn how you can best use social media tools to your advantage, and how to minimize your chances of being burned by them. 

Put your best foot forward
A is for account settings. Know them well, and use them wisely.

Approaching your child about safe Web surfing practices is more important than you may think. According to research compiled by NetLingo.com, 61 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have a personal profile on social networking sites—and 44 percent of them have been contacted by a stranger. Compare that to teens without online profiles: Only 16 percent of them report ever being contacted by a stranger.

As a parent, what other statistics should prompt an Internet safety conversation between you and your child?

Mother and daughter using a computer

Idle summertime means your kids have more opportunity to browse online. You may find your child parked in front of the family computer spending hours at a time on popular social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. As a parent, do you really know who your child is communicating with—or, in some instances, does your child even know?